“Everyone has camera phones these days …. So I don’t understand why she wants a photographer at her wedding?”
Which is the second most irritating thing I have heard someone say in a shop. The first most irritating thing was when a lady was purchasing a certain well known brand of coffee and remarked that you just could not beat a cup of this certain brand of coffee…… You most certainly can.
There is a rare but curious notion that being a photographer (especially for weddings) involves rocking up with a camera and occasionally pushing the clicky button. This is untrue …… Not all of them go click for a start.
The truth is that doing a wedding is quite hard work. You turn up first thing to find the bride to be without make up and hair still in post bed format … More often than not hungover … And demanding that you make them look pretty from the word go. What follows is an exercise of working in a small space trying to get a good shot while various bridesmaids and family mill about. From that point on it is a non stop case of rushing around and to get the right shot while shouldering the responsibility of recording the special day.
Do not get me wrong …. I love it … Its just that it hurts me personally to hear all this hard work could be achieved by Uncle Phil and his camera phone …. Actually in the photography world we call them Uncle Bob … Every wedding has an Uncle Bob.
They are also especially tiring. Which is why when I heard that the Vintage and Artisan Fayre was hosting a Hollywood Icons Fashion show the day after I was doing a wedding … I decided to keep a low profile. The last thing in my desires after a full day of wedding shooting was another full day of shooting a major event. I decided I would go underground and am therefore ashamed to confess that when I bumped into Hendrika at the Antiques Quarter at the Moor Market it was without the usual joy.
I love Hendrika. Her boundless energy and enthusiasm and work to promote the Quarter has been phenomenal. I also usually love bumping into Hendrika as I can continue my crusade to turn “Get your Vintage on” into the Quarter moto … She is not super keen. She invited me come sit with her and Chris Bower who was organising the Fashion Show. I was like a trapped beast, a rabbit into the headlights … I could see the writing on the wall and the internal groan was set to maximum …. I was therefore somewhat taken aback when …
“Would you model for us?”
Was not what I was expecting to be asked.
I ran through surprise and shock, briefly flirted with the sensation of being flattered before dropping hard on the horror that my Photographic abilities were not in demand. If you had a feather to hand you could have knocked me over with it … That is if you had a feather in your possession … I am aware that feather possession is not a criminal offence despite the old saying that one could be used as such … I am also aware that there is little call to have a feather in ones possession but you could have floored me with one if you had.
I think this feeling of horror was a large part of the reason I gratefully accepted when I was asked to shoot on the day … Without too much enthusiasm … Right up until I attended the fittings and saw two girls dressed immaculately as 1920’s flappers. The switch in my brain flicked into the “This is going to be awesome” mode.
Now I have to tell you that I grew up on Hollywood through my grandparents. I was serenaded by Doris Day, crooned to by Bing Crosby, enchanted by Humphrey Bogart and educated by Tallulah Bankhead … Which was probably a mistake but there you go. I am not going to explain why an education by Tallulah is a mistake … You shall have to Google (other search engines are available …. But seriously … Anyone out there use them?).
And you have to agree that the Abbeydale Picture House was the perfect venue. The building which was opened in the 1920’s had been bringing the sparkle and glamour of Hollywood to this Yorkshire city for years. It had thrilled with those glittering icons of yesteryear to bring a break from the everyday existence and great Icons had flickered and entertained on the screen to transform everyday hum drum. Before laptops and ipads, before the internet and even before TV …. This was an escape from reality that I feel we find so difficult to grasp these days.
….. And once again the people were to sit in the stalls to see the interpretations of these glorious figures …. And does not that connection to the past give you goosebumps at all?
Just like a wedding I was there first thing for the makeup and hair to be done …. But unlike the wedding prep the make up was done by the stage for the visitors to see and enjoy as the models were transformed. And there was far more room to manoeuvre.
I was delighted to work with both new and familiar faces. My frequent collaborator and all round awesome individual Incessant Showers arrived walking down the central aisle in full Blanche Dubois travelling outfit and a friendly smile. Scott Saynor (who you may recognise from the Antiques Quarter flyers) was in attendance …. he had brought his friend Oliver to the fittings … Having witnessed the awesome clothes on offer he had quickly begun trying on outfits and was recruited and did a marvellous job.
As the curtain was about to metaphorically rise the public began to take their seats as Victoria Roberts of Lipstick and Rouge performed make up wonders. Amanda and Rachael of Pose. Sheffield weaved the models hair into their vintage form. Models dipped into the changing room to fit out the clothes provided by Chris Bower and Emily Stanley…… The clock ticked …..
And it ran a touch late …. But you cannot rush the turning back of the clock …
Chris finally took to the mic in full John Wayne costume and made the announcements before the glittering icons of yesteryear strutted their stuff to the delight of the audience.
I swished around in my 1950’s style press attire and tried hard to capture that which was presented in front of me. In so much I was just as much part and parcel of the performance.
The guys were totally and utterly magnificent and stunning.It was such fun … And yet in a strange way I feel sad that it is over. I feel sad that the little spark of Hollywood was only one day. I know that Hollywood is all about illusion and smoke and mirrors, but the Hollywood of yesterday did something it no longer does. It took the hard lives of those who had to graft for a living in a world without easy entertainment and put stars in their eyes.
I think that is wonderful … And I think in a way that spark happened during the vintage catwalk.
And that is the thing isn’t it? When you have the likes of Cary Grant, Jean Harlow, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and such ….. It is as easy as running around and getting the camera to make a clicky noise…..
Thanks to (in no particular order) Incessant Showers, Ellis, Millie, Erin, Kate, Heidi, Emily, Steph, Stephy, Steph, Oliver and Scott!!! Awesome dudes the lot of them!!!
P.s. Come to the Antiques Quarter and get your vintage on.
P.p.s Sorry Hendrika