Manor by the Lake / 2016
It’s just a walk down a staircase.
I’ve never been a bride (gender plays something of a part in that), nor a groom for that matter. Despite having taken tens of thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands?) of wedding photographs I have literally no idea what is going on in the wedding couple’s heads at this point. Having said that, I do have my own interpretation of what it might be like and after absorbing the vibe on the day I try my best to encapsulate that in my photography.
It looks something like this picture.
Nervous energy, bundled up with excitement added to the strange, surreal sensation that the 6 / 12 / 18 / 24 months (maybe more…maybe less) of preparations are for this day and this moment. You’re moving forwards…one small step for the bride, one giant leap for their future life.
I love having the opportunity to wedding photography in Cheltenham largely because of this venue, Manor by the Lake. Part of the reason that I love it is this staircase. The bridal suite is just at the top of the stairs (to my right as I took this photograph), and there is a very small walk from there to the room where the registrars hold the pre-ceremony interview (which is next door to the ceremony room). Every time I’ve visited Manor by the Lake, there’s been an opportunity to try to get an image a little something like the one below. I posted one about 18 months ago of a bride and her father walking down the very same staircase. To me it’s symbolic. It’s very possible that all of the brides in any pictures I’ve taken of these stairs have just been thinking ‘Ok, let’s get on with this then’ with no emotional sensation whatsoever, but I don’t honestly think that’s the case.
This particular image was photographed at Manor by the Lake in mid-September. I wanted to achieve a number of things with it. I wanted to use the staircase as a way of symbolising the bride’s life up until this point being behind her as she steps into her future as a newlywed. I wanted to capture the stark contrast of the dress against the dark wood panelling and carpet. I wanted to portray the nerves and excitement. I think I achieved these elements, but honestly none of it matters. It’s a picture that I love because it’s the very reason that photography is a challenge and a reward; it expresses something that you can’t necessarily put into words.
Fujifilm X-Pro 2 – 23mm 1.4 – f/2.2 – ISO5,000
Manor by the Lake, Cheltenham, 2016