Earlier this year, at the Fearless conference in Budapest, something almost magical happened for me. Surrounded by photographers all over the world, recognising many familiar faces and feeling part of that community, taking pictures became fun again. I thought in March that, if I could bring that feeling to all the weddings I photograph, amazing things could happen. Don’t get me wrong, I DO enjoy photographing weddings, I really do, but oftentimes I take them (too) seriously. I am there to get the shots and I do that to the best of my ability. I stress about not screwing up. There’s pressure. My time at a wedding is spent shooting and my goal is to be present and in the moment. Enjoyment is never a priority.
Anita and Sebastian’s wedding in Burgundy was different, closer to that Budapest vibe (serendipitous, considering Sebastian has Hungarian heritage). They are both very down-to-earth people. They hate attention and the thought of being in the spotlight made Anita anxious before the wedding. At some point, they considered not even getting a photographer (they didn’t have a videographer). They love nature and animals and didn’t want any posed, cheesy shots. Even getting the families together for a group shot was tricky. I don’t know how this sounds to other people, but for me, it sounded almost too good to be true. Pure documentary photography. Finally living the dream.
And indeed, my weekend in Burgundy photographing their wedding was something out of a dream, or at least out of a very strange and surreal movie. Everyone and everything had an interesting story. The white cows and rolling hills in a place where no-one locks their doors. Anita and Sebastian’s ridiculously smart dog and her green bandana. The chain-smoking French architect neighbour. The Irish Egyptian wedding guest (and yes, an Egyptian with an Irish accent is truly a strange thing to behold). Sebastian’s obsessive passion for Oasis. The fact that Anita and Sebastian got married on the same day as Anita’s parents almost 40 years ago. The Hungarian uncle, and exchanging horrible, very un-politically correct, yet so funny jokes about Romanians and Hungarians. And so many other small things like this.
Sebastian was telling me before the wedding that they wanted to work with people that, in another lifetime, they could be friends with. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed Anita and Sebastian’s Burgundy wedding so much – everyone was incredibly warm and they welcomed me as one of the family. I got to discover and photograph all of these stories because everyone trusted me and shared. And maybe in another lifetime, we’ll get to hang out for a beer as well.
Anita, Sebastian, thank you for trusting me! Hope to see you in another 40 years!
Wedding planner: White Label Events