Chris Barber – 2013 winner of Wedding Ideas Magazine ‘Photographer of the year’
“I am Chris Barber and I crash weddings with my camera. My style is different because it’s inconsistent. I could write what it is in this answer right now and by next week it’ll be something else. The thing that links in everything I do is expression with creativity and the desire to keep pushing my work as an artist… not as a ‘vendor’ – if that makes sense? Expressions are so important to me because you can’t pose them. Shooting a belly laugh requires so much more than qualifications and technical training – I have to interact and lose myself in what I do.
I like to people watch and I’ve never seen a couple just casually romantically posing in the street. I see couples in fits of laughter all the time. So I like to shoot stuff that resembles who these people really are. All of my couples tell me they hate having their photo taken. I hate having my photo taken too. So immediately we’re on the same page and we work from there. For me, photography is all about the interaction between photographer and subject – not their technical abilities. These days – anyone with a half decent camera can take ‘good’ pictures. But there’s a big difference between ‘good’ pictures and pictures that actually speak to you.
Winning the Wedding Ideas Magazine, Photographer of the Year award has kept ‘giving’ on so many levels since it was announced. On a practical level – I’ve seen bookings come as a direct result of the awards and associated press – which is awesome but it’s also been hugely embraced by my couples (past and present) who are ridiculously excited about dropping that “award winning photographer” bomb on their friends and families. I’m really excited to see what the award contributes towards creative trust this year. My hope is that the award will give me and my couples the trust to be as creative as I can be. It’s very difficult to take risks with wedding photography – which is why I like it. My plan is to be all like “trust me on this crazy idea – I’ve won an award for this kinda stuff”. I’m a big believer in the theory that art is whatever you can get away with so it’d be an understatement to say that winning Best Photographer has meant i’m even more excited about 2013. I think it was Ann Hathaway who accepted a Golden Globe, thanking everyone for “this lovely blunt object I’ll always use as a weapon against self doubt” and winning Best Photographer is just that. It’s hopefully going to give me the confidence to do what I want to do and to trust my creative instincts. That’s a pretty revolutionary thing.
Wedding photography is a lot different to what it was even 5 years ago. A relaxed approach is essential and with advancing technology that’s available at high street prices – the idea that “everybody is a professional photographer” is slowly being shattered. I think couples are looking for ‘artists’ …not vendors. Being ‘good’ in a specific field isn’t enough anymore. Over the next few years – I think we’ll see a lot more emphasis on couples choosing their photography based on connection, style and fit with their wedding. Trends come and go so quickly that it’s pointless to guess what’s in the pipeline – I’d just like to see more couples celebrating love in the way they want to.”
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