Why do couples hire a documentary photographer for a wedding? There are a number of reasons but often it’s because they want me to capture the impromptu, candid and unexpected moments that pop up during the day.
Most of these are joyous, but some reveal anxiety and stress. And occasionally disaster strikes. And, I often wonder, should I be photographing these moments too?
A case in point was at a wedding in Castelldefels, Catalunya, a couple of weeks ago. I was at the house of the groom’s mother. Suddenly the hairdresser came running past me to get something from the terrace and ran straight into the French glass window, shattering it and sending shards of crystal flying.
My initial reaction was to take a picture but in the fraction of a second that it took me to raise my camera, I realised that she might be seriously injured. So I put down my camera and went into First Aid mode. The hairdresser had a number of cuts but thankfully none of them was serious. However there was glass everywhere so I went to work photographing the clean up operation. And the hairdresser, to her immense credit, continued with Juan’s mother’s hair before going to get stitched up in A&E.
The rest of the day, in Castelldefels’ church and beside the beach at Les Marines restaurant, was typically joyous even if the conversations were laced by the shock Juan and his mum had had. In the years to come it will certainly be a memorable part of the day. And it seems my coverage was improved by a couple of shots showing the aftermath of that talking point.