Wednesday June 23rd, 2010 05:02 PM
I’ve been taking photos for the new website of one of Ezcaray’s best-known restaurants, Echaurren. The chef and manager of the restaurant and hotel, Francis Paniego, asked me to capture a sense of what brides and grooms could expect when choosing the Echaurren for wedding receptions and particularly how convenient it is for the church across the road.
There are, in fact, two restaurants at Echaurren. One serves traditional cuisine and the other, El Portal del Echaurren, offers an avant garde, modern menu. In 2004, El Portal became the first ever restaurant in La Rioja to gain a Michelin star. The Echaurren’s reputation draws diners in from across La Rioja, Bilbao, Madrid and further afield.
Once the wedding guests were sat down for lunch I headed for the kitchen. Seeing the dozen-strong team at work preparing lunch for 160 wedding guests plus the a-la-carte requests for those in their second dining room was quite something. It goes without saying that the food looked sensational but the lasting memory was of the sense of organisation and understanding among the team.
Wednesday June 16th, 2010 08:05 PM
I’ve just added a couple of galleries from weddings which I shot before this website was launched. The 2006 civil partnership of my sister-in-law, Lui, and her partner, Allende, was my first time as the official photographer. I hadn’t expected it and it was lucky I’d taken my camera with me to Spain. I had to borrow a flash from the local photography shop.
It was also one of the first civil partnerships to take place in Ezcaray. There were doubts whether the then mayor would take be in a position to conduct the service as his party, PP, were against same sex weddings. But it went ahead without a hitch.
The second gallery is from a wedding last year where the couple asked me to take photos not of them but of the parts of the day they would not get to see. Brides and grooms often say afterwards that they were so busy either with last minute preparations or talking to guests during the day that they missed much of what was going on around them. This was a way of keeping a record. It’s good when couples have different ideas of what they want.
Sophy wrote to me afterwards saying:
“The photos look fantastic… thank you so much… you are very clever!”
Friday June 4th, 2010 08:43 PM
My younger brother, Andy, finally married Lin, his girlfriend of many years, a couple of weeks ago. I spent the morning of the wedding photographing Lin as she got ready for the ceremony. It’s often a tense moment; the air heavy with anticipation, nerves and the nagging fear of things that could go wrong. But not Lin. She exuded happiness and a sense of calm about the day ahead. Hopefully my photos show that.
And of course it all went swimmingly. Both the service at the 14th century Archbishop’s palace in Maidstone, Kent, and the reception in a field behind my parents’ house near Tunbridge Wells.
There’s a more extensive selection on my Photobox site, where prints are available to buy.
Lin sent me the following note afterwards:
“Thanks James, these are fantastic – really brings back some brilliant memories of the day. Thanks so much for your hard work, you’re a star.”