“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.”– Alan Watts
…just remember to breathe, everything else will follow
The UK’s Number 1 Wedding Photographer. How did I get here? What obscure journey did I take to end up at this specific point? I can’t be sure, in-fact to be honest I can’t remember a lot of the last 6 months (and before that feels a bit hazy too). 2018 has been terrific but also a blur; from the endless late nights of editing to shooting virtually every week (sometimes twice a week) during the hottest UK summer I can remember. But it’s all been worth it.
When I begun my career I had my sights on winning a few awards, that was my goal: “a few awards”, but as I write this blog post I’m in disbelief – I’ve won over 90 international awards, 12 from the WPJA.
This accolade is the biggest of my career so far. It’s difficult to convey how important this is to me, probably because it’s the WPJA. Here’s what they say on their website:
“(the) Wedding Photojournalist Association members take some of the most beautiful — and beautifully honest — photographs in the world, all over the world. They have a passion for the integrity of their work and the integrity of their business, demonstrating compassion and respect for their clients and their clients’ family, friends, officiants and guests…”
“What sets WPJA’s contests apart from those run by other wedding photography organisations is that we never, in the 15 years of our existence, have used our members to judge one another’s work, and we never will. The decision has nothing to do with competence, because we have many members who are eminently qualified to serve as contest judges. Rather, our position is based on fairness. The use of highly qualified outside judges keeps our panels free from even a hint of bias.”
Integrity & Fairness
The words that pop out when I read their mission statement are integrity and fairness. Off the top of my head I can think of 17 wedding photography awards groups (there’s probably many many more) a lot of them claiming to be the ultimate, best or definitive authority on wedding photography, but not all have the transparency, honesty, integrity and fairness as shown by the WPJA. Their judges are renowned photojournalists and artists including the Pulitzer winning works of David Leeson, Ken Geiger, John Kaplan, Gina Ferazzi, Damon Winter, Preston Gannaway, Tiffany Brown & Michael Ainsworth. And they deserve our thanks.
My passion for truth in photography goes deep. You may have read in my 2017 roundup that I’m midway through studying for an MA in photojournalism at one of the most prestigious art colleges in Europe. My work and interests have taken me to the furthest most easterly point of Europe were I have been a witness to the refugee crisis first hand. Of course it’s a different to weddings, but it’s still people, I’m still dealing with emotion and it’s still truth. Getting this far with the WPJA gives me confidence that I’m moving in the right direction. Hopefully one day I’ll make the brave move across to journalism, but for now I’ll keep on shooting amazing wedding things for amazing people.
My sincere thanks to the WPJA, you do good things for the wedding photography community and you have my deepest respect.
Here are my 12 awards, in date order (most recent win first):
Here’s a handy guide to help you work out what Gold, Blue and Purple Medallions are:
- Gold Medallion – Selected by all four judges
- Blue Medallion – Selected by three of four judges
- Purple Medallion – Selected by two of four judges in a contest.
You can read more on each of my 2018 WPJA awards here:
- V3, 2018 (1 Gold Medallion)
- V5, 2018 (1 Gold & 1 Purple Medallion)
- V6, 2018 (1 Blue Medallion)
- V7, 2018 (1 Gold & 1 Purple Medallion)
- V9, 2018 (1 Gold & 1 Purple Medallion)
- V11, 2018 (1 Gold & 2 Blue Medallions)
Note: The last picture of the groomsman leaning into a window was taken and won in 2017 and hasn’t been counted towards the 2018 scoring.