Wednesday May 29th, 2013 03:02 PM
Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) the great French photojournalist, is often quoted to have said that “sharpness is a bourgeois concept”. According to one account I was reading he said it to Helmut Newton as a bit of a joke, to excuse the camera shake caused by his ageing hands. Whatever the circumstances it begs the question: Do photos have to be in focus to be good?
In many of my favourite photos of Ana & Julian’s recent wedding at the Echaurren Hotel, Ezcaray, La Rioja, Spain, some key players are out of focus. The church vicar conducting the ceremony in the first photo below for example. He’s at the front of the photo but by shooting him out of focus I’m suggesting that he’s not the subject of the photo and I’m forcing your eyes to keep looking for it. In this case the photo is about Ana & Julián’s loving glance back there in the distance. The priest just sets the scene.
At other times blur in a photo can bring it to life. The photo above was shot as the couple entered the dining room to the cheers of their family and friends. It’s one of the highlights of any wedding, a moment charged with emotion and movement; both at the heart of my photography. By using slow shutter speed and continuing to shoot even when I know the bride is no longer in focus, it seems to me that the photo well conveys the movement, joy and chaos of the moment.
Saturday August 18th, 2012 02:40 PM
The first thing that Vicente Dalmau Cebrián-Sagarriga, the count of Creixell & owner of Marqués de Murrieta winery, said to me was: “How long do you need to take my portrait? One hour or two?”
Brilliant!! So often on comercial assignments, I get no more no more than 10 minutes to photograph the boss. The resulting photos are fine, and sometimes a combination of spontaneity and my inner desperation leads to surprisingly good results.
But Vicente’s opening gambit, apart from putting me at ease, revealed his understanding and respect for the craft of photography. Namely that having time to think and some trial and error allows for creativity and leads excellent results. And that’s in both our interests.
The photos are published in this month’s Decanter Magazine.
Friday July 13th, 2012 11:08 AM
Couples who hire photojournalists not only want beautiful wedding photos but also stories told through the images. There are various ways of doing this – perhaps the most obvious being through a series of photos. You can narrate the day with a portfolio taken over many hours or tell about a special moment with a number of images snapped in a couple of seconds.
But another, more subtle, way I tell stories is through the components I include in the composition of a photo. The above picture was taken in the Zaragoza flat where María grew up. There were lots of family photos on show. As soon as I entered I started making a mental note of what pictures were where, including the picture of María’s mother on her wedding day more than 30 years before.
A few minutes later María and her father were together near this photo. I took a couple of shots, one focused on María and her father, the other on the picture. Perhaps it’s not the most beautiful shot of the day but it is the one that tells the story of two generations of a family.
Client comment: “Thank you for being an excellent photographer. Not only were you excellent but also very popular!!”
Thursday June 7th, 2012 03:26 PM
Hotel Marqués de Riscal in Elciego, Euskadi, is a lovely place to photograph a wedding, what with the stunning architecture and beautiful location to name but two of its delights. Every time I go, part of the fun is to find new angles and approaches. It’s the sort of place that never ceases to stimulate.
That said, when I looked back over the photos of Raquel & Javier’s wedding, there was one photo that really thrilled me; and it didn’t have any of the Riscal architecture in it. Or even the wedding couple.
It was the one above of a little boy sitting on the carpet playing with his toy (or more likely his father’s or mother’s) while the adults celebrated all around. At any wedding there are multiple stories taking place at any given time and I’m always on the look out for them. This is not the sort of photo that will be at the front of the album but it adds intrigue, detail and depth to my coverage.
The couple’s feedback:
We’ve received the book of photos and we love it.
Thanks for everything,
Raquel & Javier
Friday May 11th, 2012 06:28 PM
I’m thrilled that a series of my photos are published the May edition of Decanter, one of the best known and respected wine magazines in the world. I’m even more thrilled that I took the photos in Bodegas Vega Sicilia, one of Spain’s best known and respected wineries.
The Vega Sicilia winery, in Valbuena de Duero, oozes character and history – a bit like its highly-valued produce. There’s an old stone convent, a number of more recent, but still fairly old buildings and an ultra modern, recently opened, winery.
My brief was to capture some relatively casual photos of Pablo Álvarez, Vega Sicilia’s managing director – a job that’s made considerably easier when the background setting is so attractive. All I really had to do was ask Pablo if he minded taking off his tie!