14 Mar Picture This: May I have the honour?
In my ‘Picture This’ series I focus on an individual image, or series of images, and explain why I like it.
Barcombe Village Hall wedding
I’m going back into the archives for the latest in my ‘Picture This’ series. It’s from about four years ago and was taken at a Barcombe Village Hall wedding, near Lewes in East Sussex.
As I recall, the ceremony had fairly recently finished and the jazz band was already in full swing. Most of the guests were hardly onto their second drink, and not ready to let their hair down. However, one little girl was determined to hit the dance floor early, and took along her doll for security. One of her more thoughtful relatives obviously felt she needed some extra support and headed out too. I was watching all this unfold in front of me and anticipated what looked like a potentially comic moment.
I do love this type of image where you can almost make up your own storyline, like a caption competition. Has the thoughtful guest just asked if he ‘might have the honour’? Has she already chosen her dance partner and doesn’t really want to be interrupted? Who knows? Add to that the wedding band musician in the foreground, the conversations of reluctant guests in the background and the woman with the stunning white shoes on the right and there’s lots going on around the main story.
Documentary wedding photography
Photographers sometimes like to talk about composition in pictures as if it’s an exact science and was all planned. Of course, if you’re one of those photographers that orchestrate situations and move people around, this claim makes more sense. It would also make the wedding a total nightmare for all concerned!
Documentary wedding photographers like me don’t pose people at all (apart from the few group and couple shots), but we’re always looking out for harmony and balance in what’s going on in front of us. When this harmony is combined with a story, it can make for a really interesting image, and this is one of my favourites.
Now please bear with me as I get a little more analytical. The eye loves triangles. The comic tension in this wedding photo is accentuated by the triangle leading the viewer’s eye from the trumpet to the thoughtful relative then down to the dancing girl, then back up to the trumpet, and so on. There are other triangles too – formed by the line of heads in the background, the arm and jacket of the thoughtful guest, and the arm and torso of the trumpet player. All these triangles help to give the image movement, energy and balance.