Rob and Alison
It was one of the best and definitely one of the most unusual weddings I have ever had the pleasure to photograph.
Rob had always wanted to have a unique location for his wedding, and to his relief his fiancée, Alison, agreed. The selection process was, however, much more challenging than they had anticipated. They had traveled up and down the Kent coast in search for their perfect location. The one they both loved had already been booked for the date they wanted. Unwilling to let such a location go, they decided to push back their wedding date by a week, and booked Fort Amherst as their wedding venue.
Constructed in 1756 the fort was designed to protect London from French invasions. It had been in active use during the Second World War, serving as an Air Raid Warning Command Post under the RAF.
Eager to show off their venue, Alison and Rob took me to see Fort Amherst a couple of weeks before their wedding. The place was a treasure chest. In one of the rooms, there was a blackboard, on which listed, still visible, the RAF missions on July 19th 1943. A map of England hung on one side of the room, different color pins dotted on it, indicting the likely targets of the Luftwaffe. It was like stepping into back in history. The rest of the fort was a collection of twisting tunnels which would be lit by candles on their wedding day, providing an incredible atmosphere.
The tour left me invigorated and very excited.The fort, although unique and interesting, presented somewhat a challenge to me as a photographer. Inside the fort, where vast majority of the ceremony would take place, was very dark. This, on the surface may not seem like such a big deal. After all, we could simply turn up the power of the flashes and blast the darkness away. This, however, would kill the ambient light too. I want to capture the atmosphere generated by the burning candles not killing it.
To make the matter a little bit more interesting, Rob took me to a corner, out of Alison’s hearing range.
“Did you see the ground outside?” he asked.
“Do you think you can take a picture of me and a couple of other boys running towards the camera, terrified?”
Cautiously, very cautiously I said yes. That yes sounded more like a question than an affirmative.
“Do you think” Rob looked behind to make sure Alison’s attention was elsewhere “You can add a T-Rex behind?”
I nearly laughed and called Dan on my phone.
Dan is our Photoshop expert. Together with Abby they make up our digital processing team. They are incredibly skilled. They are partly the reason why all our pictures look so good.
I repeated Rob’s question.
“Hell yes!” Dan nearly screamed from the other end of the line “What an awesome idea!”
“Can I talk with him?” Rob asked.
“Sure.” I handed it over.
“Hi Dan,” Rob whispered into the phone “Can you make it into a movie poster.”
“I want to call it” he looked behind “The Prehistoric Wedding Crasher.”
“Awesome.Consider it done.”
A couple of days later, I received even more exciting news. Rob and Alison had hired a canon crew who would fire one blank shot and they would fire one after that.
The wedding day itself went very smoothly. I have stricken the correct balance between the ambient light of the location and the light from the flash units. To this I must thank Emmanuel, my assistant, whose hard work made it possible.
The canon fire was even more amazing than we had anticipated. Though we have been warned, the sheer loudness still surprised us. I had my camera set to burst mode, captured some of the best shots of the day.
And as you can see from the picture Dan and Abby did their magic with the movie posters.
It was an incredible day. I was thoroughly thrilled and honored to be given the opportunity to capture every single moment of it.
And finally, congratulations to the happy couple, Alison and Rob.Thank you for the amazing day.