Surviving The Bridal Welts

dscf8190I am about to embark on a three-week wedding streak – three ceremonies at widely spaced locations in the state. It is the start of spring and the brides are trying for days that are neither too wet nor too warm. Warm, wet brides are all very well, but not during the actual ceremony…

It’s getting a little tougher to predict the weather these days as seasons change and the fact  that weddings are very often held out-of-doors means that there is always some element of elemental risk. Churches may have been a gloomy and pokey choice but at least most of them were dry inside and you could depend upon the level of illumination not to change.

Of course, you could also depend upon the dictatorial attitude of the minister or priest as well, but most of that could be quelled with the application of irate bride’s mother.

The days of the 35mm B/W Leica wedding were pretty straightforward as far as the coverage that was expected and the images that could be delivered – they were in harmony. Then the advent of colour processing, the SLR, and the Digital SLR ballooned out the possibilities and the dedicated studios ran with it. Increasing levels of wedding marketing, art designing, and bullshit branding lead to more and more theatrical production of photos on what used to be a private and sacred day.

I go with this only to a very small degree. As I am not an artist, and have the sneers to prove it, I do not pretend to produce the wedding of the century every weekend. I am content to get the people in focus and exposed evenly. This may seem a cop-out, but it is not really.

I do what I can do, as well as I can do it. The advent of digital capture means I can do more of it for less money than heretofore – but I do not feel any pressure to do it to excess. I picture what happens on the day – the bridal party and the guests can decide amongst themselves what that will be.

If they wish the services of an artist as well I see no reason they cannot engage one – indeed one of my November brides has done just that. I’ll cover the ceremony and when it is completed ( and she has arrived at the point where she cannot be compelled to testify against her husband in a court of law ), she and he will be whisked off by the artist for two hours of photography elsewhere. I will amuse myself with the guests as we demolish the canapés and liquor and when they get back from the gravel pit or battery farm where they have been posing, I will cover the reception. I think it a delightful division of labour.

If it proves to be so I shall demand it of all future clients. I cannot say that I want to go back to the days of a Leica M2, a Metz flash, and 125 ISO monochrome film, but the thought has occurred to me that my Fujifilm X-Pro1 with a 35mm f1.4 lens and a Metz 45 CL1 is as near as damnit to the old Leica and I can select monochrome later with the RAW file. And no diving for the sideboard to rewind a 36-exposure cartridge halfway in the middle of the bridal welts.

Betcha they’ll still be serving the same canapés as they did in 1968…

Heading Image: Ya can’t beat the classics. Plus X 125 in D-76.


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