2020. Still Beautiful | Kent Wedding Photographer
Ok, Im going to kick this off with a bold statement: This year has been if not the best, then certainly the year I’ve been most proud of ourselves as photographers.
Now Im not blind to the fact that the wedding industry has taken a bit of a hammering this year, or that there have been enormous challenges wherever we look. But in amongst all of that, on the whole (and I’m only human, I had a few gloomy weeks here and there) Hannah and I have managed to stay upbeat and proactive all year. The truth is, I’ve only been to about five weddings this year out of an original calendar of nearly forty, so it’s meant a lot of thinking on our feet and making stuff up as we go along to find the bright and shiny bits that have kept us happy and creative along the way.
Having started the year laughing our heads off, a little tipsy, in the middle of Trafalgar Square clutching our little trophy from The Wedding Industry Awards for National Wedding Photographer Of The Year 2020 – National Highly Commended to only a few short weeks later when Boris did his bit and our diary crumbled apart, it’s been exhausting at times and painfully illustrated how fast you can go from having everything to having very little seemingly overnight.
But…there’s been so much good stuff that I just can’t overlook it, I’ve really loved parts of this year even if I am a bit knackered, have eaten too many biscuits and am crawling towards the finish line this year with another little trophy under our arm from The Wedding Industry Awards 2021 as Regional Highly Commended which is something to be proud of given how difficult this year has been.
The handful of weddings we have been a part of have definitely had something really special about them. I’m not going to all a sudden pretend that small, intimate weddings and elopements have always been what I wanted to shoot or that I’ve always wanted them to be this way, but they have been lovely and there have been genuine moments of laughter and intimacy that I don’t think would have happened had there been a hundred or more people looking on.
We’ve shot more family photography this year, and a lot more of George & Jasper than normal and somehow found a way to start a new business in Saltwick Media.
Well into lockdown and when the boredom was really hitting hard I decided to throw myself into something new and learn how to make simple films, and to concentrate on working with independent businesses that perhaps could do with some support coming out of lockdown as a way of keeping me busy, fresh and mentally occupied at a time when I was feeling more than a little bruised.
That has led to a full years worth of work, taking photos and filming some brilliant businesses from cider orchards and vineyards to soap makers, restaurants and landscape gardeners. I don’t want to bang on about it too much on this page (go have a look @saltwickmedia on Insta if you’re interested) but it has really kept me creatively sharp and working with my camera five days a week has made me a better photographer all round and reshaped my eye to a new way of looking that I think has improved my wedding work on those rare occasions I’ve been in those environments again. It’s been rejuvenating. An unexpected pause at a time when I didn’t really realise that I needed it, and it’s caused me to fall in love with photography all over again in new ways.
It’s been a year of many firsts, and the one that left the biggest mark on me personally was photographing a funeral for the first time for a family who had lost their Dad to Covid-19, and due to the restrictions were unable to have the majority of his family there on the day. It genuinely affected me deeply and brought home to me why this year has been the way it has.
Putting aside all of the griping and anger that I’ve felt this year at times, it’s hard not to feel that this year has been justified when you’re so close to a family who have lost someone so dear to them. It made me realise what a thousand small indiscretions and bends of the rule can add up to and it came at the right time for me when I was starting to really wonder what the point was in the endless restrictions on our daily lives. It was very humbling to be a part of. Full Disclosure, there are some photos from that day below, shared with permission, and if that might cause you a little upset then I wont be offended if you click away now, but I just felt they were important to include this year more than any other.
Every year I thank our clients for all your help and being so brilliant but this year it’s really coming from somewhere especially heartfelt. Clients from previous years have picked up the phone when we’ve felt grotty, and our new clients whose weddings have had to be postponed, cancelled, or reshaped have shown so much dark humour, so much flexibility and been so optimistic that it really has made the year so much easier to navigate through, so the biggest thank you to everyone who has reached out, you’re all fantastic and it’s not gone unnoticed.
It might not have been what we were expecting, but it was still beautiful in it’s own way.
Jackson & Co Photography | Kent Wedding Photographer