Halloween is an evening when kids dress up and roam neighbourhoods, knocking on doors, asking for chocolates and lollies. Halloween is not a day that I have ever associated with weddings.
I was in Sydney last weekend and was surprised by how many kids and their parents were out on Saturday night, dressed in awesome little costumes, trick-or-treating the local streets. What was even more surprising (and quite heartening) was the amount of effort that some people had gone to with the elaborate decorations on the front of their homes. Groups of vampires, werewolves and other scary little monsters knew exactly which homes to knock and which ones to pass by. All in all it's a pretty good system regardless of anyone's thoughts on the practice.
The day before heading to Sydney, my girlfriend's dad told us that his friend Greg, a watchmaker, was getting married at his home in Leichhardt on Saturday night. This wasn't to be any ordinary wedding though, as Greg and his partner Rachel had been together for over 30 years and have a 22 year old daughter (Maddie was to be the wedding's emcee). I had met Greg about a dozen times at Café Ella in Redfern and knew him to be an intelligent and cool guy. When I heard he was getting married on Halloween (at his home!) I knew that I wanted to attend and I also knew that there would be some great photos to be made. It just sounded like it was going to be fun.
I enquired whether Greg had organised a photographer for the evening. It turns out that he had overlooked this detail and nothing had been arranged. Seeing as we were in Sydney, I offered to do some photos for the couple, but I knew from the outset that I would be photographing for myself as well as to record the evening's celebration. The camera was my great excuse to crash the party.
The guests were treated to a quality music trio, set with a baby grand, strings and trumpet. We ate and drank, some people danced and I met two great people (amongst others) with whom I talked about art and music for what seemed like hours. We did family portraits with available light and I shot it all with one lens (24-70mm). I loved every minute of it.
It has taken a full day to edit the photos, and I have sequenced and laid out a small book as a gift for the couple. The title; Wedding on Elswick Street.
At its best, photography is fun and honest pictures can come from anywhere, weddings included. People often ask if I shoot weddings, and while I often say I don't, I actually do about 3-4 a year (mostly for friends). I love the pictures I made on Saturday night, they feel honest and to me that is the epitome of photography.
If you have a hunch about something that you want to shoot, follow your gut and act upon it. Go through with it. I had a feeling there would great picture opportunities at Greg's wedding, but I didn't imagine they would be as good as they actually were. It was a night I'll remember for a long time. Hopefully the set of pictures will be a nice reminder for Greg and Rachel too.