19th June 2021
Julie and Karl are a couple for the ages.
Blessed with an epic, thirty one year back story, this day was about as special and as moving as it gets.
Their day took place at the beautiful Belair House in Dulwich, SE London. But on this occasion, ‘their’ doesn’t really cut it because this was a wedding that was truly shared by everyone present. This was a renewal of vows in every sense, and from the moment that I had my first consultation video call with Julie and Karl, I was struck by the sheer force of gravity that had brought this couple back together. By the end of that call, I was talking to Julie as though she was somewhere between family, client and guardian angel. She spoke about writing a book of her life, and when she does (and she will), I will be ordering my own copy, because there’s something unique and inspiring about them as a couple. It was no surprise when on the day, Julie and Karl’s children, young and old, friends and other family members all took turns to stand up, one after the other, to take their moment to celebrate their incredibly special reunion. Some spoke, others preached or sang. But all did so honestly and poignantly about the faith, love, values and resilience woven into Julie and Karl’s life together.
It’s easy to talk about the privilege of being witness to a couple’s wedding as a photographer, but never was that honour more marked than on this day. Any dry eyes in the house? No, not really.
Still, the poignancy of the speeches, the cutting of a beautiful wedding cake and an epic first dance in the sunbathed atrium, eventually gave way to the single best party I’ve had the joy of attending, professionally or otherwise. When the Jamaican and Bajan flags were unfurled, you knew things were about to go off… and that’s exactly what happened. Just about everybody was on the dance floor, every generation represented. The Candy – check; limbo – check; Tarrus Riley – check; bridesmaids taking turns in MC’ing – check. As a photographer, there’s a reason why I wanted to stay until the end of the night. But I stayed far longer to enjoy the buzz and keep clicking, long after I’d got every dance-floor image I could have hoped for.
I set out to achieve authenticity in my imagery, above everything else. Julie, Karl and their glorious family made that process extremely straight-forward; they held nothing back, from the beginning of the day until the very last song. Every emotion was on display and that, as a photographer, is all you could ever ask for.