It’s very easy, in the digital age, to get caught up in the technicalities. Every camera review is packed with information about Mega Pixels, anti-aliasing filters, histograms and all sorts of other stuff that doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference when you look through the viewfinder and press the button. At least once at every wedding I go to, there’s someone who want’s to know all about the camera I’m using, especially because, at the moment, my cameras are a bit of a curiosity. You don’t see too many people using a Fuji X-Pro or an X-T1 to shoot a wedding (There are some notable exceptions – Kevin Mullins being one of the finest exponents).
At the end of the day, the old expression rings true: The best camera in the world is the one in your hand at the critical moment. There’s no point having £30k of Hasselblad back at home in the studio when a moment is happening in front of you. Now. In the good old days of film, the greatest documentary photographers used a pretty standard stock of film. There just wasn’t that much choice. They managed to get some of the most iconic images of all time, images that adorn the walls of many of our homes or at least, that would be instantly recognisable to many of us.
That’s were this image comes in. I was shooting Laura & Ellis’ amazing wedding at Rudding Park between Leeds an Harrogate. It was late in the evening, the first dance had come and gone and with no ceremony or announcement, Laura was now dancing with her dad. The dance floor was full and I’d shot as much as I could of the pair of them, without wanting to intrude on what was a private and emotion filled dance. I had plenty of beautiful shots of the them, all beautifully composed, exposed etc. (even if I do say so myself). I decided to turn the flash off and go for some available light shots, in a dark room, with disco lights and the illuminated dance floor as my only light sources. This shot was the result.
As photographs go, technically, it shouldn’t work. There’s motion blur. There’s blown out highlights. There’s deep, dark shadows with hardly any detail, who knows how many Megapixels the camera I used had?. But, in the middle of it all, there’s the face of a man torn between the joy of his daughter, enjoying the greatest day of her life, and the pain of knowing that he’s letting her go.
I always come back to this shot. Technically, it has little going for it, but for me, it has the most important thing in the world in it’s corner. Emotion.