I have just resurfaced from one of my best ever weddings I've had the pleasure of covering since switching to this genre of photography a few years ago. Yesterday was scorching hot here in the South East, temperature’s way above 24C on the mercury. The wedding itself was at Chiddingstone castle near Edenbridge. With the heat index high and a gentle cooling breeze I knew from the moment I stepped out of the house into the car things were set up to be a good day.
This was a wedding I had been looking forward to covering for sometime, but one I have also been incredibly nervous and anxious about too.
Based purely on the Bride that booked me. Her name is Georgina Hustler and she is the daughter of British photographer Tom Hustler.
Tom Hustler, who died aged 71, was the best-known society photographer of the Swinging Sixties; for several years he enjoyed a reputation as London's most eligible bachelor.
In a career spanning 40 years, he photographed hundreds of Britain's most beautiful women, ascribing his success behind the lens to "the knack of making people feel reasonably relaxed in front of a camera." Hustler also completed 25 royal commissions, including portraits of Prince Charles and Princess Anne for National Savings stamps. At the same time, he managed to charm petulant dolly-birds with ease.
His big break came when his fellow Old Etonian photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones announced his engagement to Princess Margaret. "The press were caught short of anything to write about Tony," Hustler remembered, "so they wrote me up (quite inaccurately) as the 'next Tony'." The royal romance got Hustler's name in the papers and put him on the map.
Thomas William Mostyn Hustler was born on October 3 1934 at the family seat, Acklam Hall in north Yorkshire. The Hustlers had occupied it for some 300 years; King Charles I was reputedly entertained beneath its superb plasterwork ceilings. The family money came from coalmines and banking, and his Victorian grandfather was high sheriff of Durham. Young Tom's father never did a stroke of work in his life, and the boy hardly ever saw his parents, who were usually away, racing or shooting.
From the minute I took on the commission I knew I had big boots to fill if I were to attempt to impress with my images. Georgina couldn’t of been any nicer about the whole affair, agreed she shared the same passion for photography as her dad but was very realistic about what can and can’t be achieved. It was clear from the onset that my documentary style was wanted both herself and Roger the groom wanted. Tom was a very successful wedding photographer in his time, shooting only with his Rolleiflex which I actually got to hold yesterday I can’t begin to imagine how difficult that would of been.
So armed only with a small selection of primes and my beloved little fuji twins along with my assistant photographer Jodi Hanigan we set out to do ‘what we do’ at what was going to be a mammoth task.
Jodi covered the boys at the Castle Inn pub which is situated next to the castle itself and I was with the bridal party from 8:30am at the house.
Dawn my partner was the hired chauffeur for the day with Marty, which whisked the girls away to the castle for a 1pm service. The ceremony was held outside in the orangery under the decorative glass panelled roof. With that cooling breeze keeping everyone at a comfortable temperature it was very pleasant working conditions, thrusting the fuji’s with my life I still confident to keep them in jpeg even though the risk of blown highlights, the use of the EVF is just sublime and really is WYSIWYG with regards to exposures. Something I never had to DSLR’s and weddings you simply don’t have time to preview each and every image. OK so RAW is always an option but that slows down my process time and the storage space would be immense. The jpegs these little cameras produce are wonderful once I have applied my custom settings in both Lightroom and in camera.
Documentary style of photography is very new to Jodi, so it was great to have her along to hone some skills.
The entire day was perfect in every way, the light, the shadows, the backdrop, the contrasting shapes and textures were everything a photographer could ask for.
The wedding party were so relaxed and quite clearly a collection of people that have been brought up around a camera and used to be photographed at some point by dad. They allowed me to get up close and personal and actually it felt just like I was a personal guest at the wedding, the hospitality was fantastic. Having such a small and un obtrusive style of camera that is silent in function is just what you need for this style. Dressing similar to the guests also helps put them at ease with your presence. Chatting to guests without the camera to your face also helps break down barriers and lets me into their personal space which is just what you want.
A little message to Georgina & Roger.....Thank you so so so much for allowing me to cover such an AMAZING and beautiful wedding, letting me be part of your special day and one I hope I have done you both justice and one I hope your dad would be looking down and say 'the boy did good'.....oh and 'Margaret Thatcher's knickers'
Here are a small selection of images from the thousands taken to give you a taste of what we managed to make. Once the newly weds have received their final versions I will blog and showcase a larger selection but until then these will have to suffice.