THE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER ROOTS
I am not an encyclopedic person, rather the opposite. I have difficulty quoting or remembering immediately what I need in a conversation, about an event, a song, a film, or a book. It seems that my memory is so slow and only after it is clear to me, but behind time. However, I feel myself in what I do, or think, with all that unremembered things present as if they were the raw materials to my moments of some creation, especially when I photograph. I am just a humble follower of everything I saw, heard, or felt until today. Probably as everybody.
This come over because, today, I remembered a great photographer from the 80s and, I am sure, the reason why I become a photographer and, after some years, a wedding photographer. He was a fashion and advertising photographer. I was in the first moments with my biding to photography. Just as a viewer, at that moment, I never thought I will become o professional photographer. I bought my first Yashica and the next step was to buy photo magazines, one of the first I saw was the French magazine Photo. My head was not prepared with all the wonders that could be done with a photographic camera and a lens. It was a wonderful world of images and I will never forget the full-color photos with such a graphic impact that, even today, when I remember dazzle my mind. The photographer was Guy Bourdin.
The images had pictorial impressive power. Intense colors, sometimes violent, with a great dramatic impact. Some of them were, at the moment, shocking at the first reaction, and our eyes just look to the other side but came back prompt, because we knew that we were looking at something out of our mind. I was just amazed at the doubt if it was a real thing or just a creation from a great artist. Just blew my mind. If, and I am sure of that, Guy Bourdin put the seed in my mind I, in my discovering task, found others that gave me the idea of different results, because we all see the world from diverse shapes and colors. It was like that how I found the methodic Helmut Newton with his sophisticated photos at the most trivial places, until there, impossible to tie with fashion photography, inside fashion magazines like Vogue or Harpers Bazaar: overcrowded beaches, a desert street in an old town or a simple hotel room.
Patrick Demarchelier was, and it is even today, for sure one of the photographers most present in my work: a very simple photo, captured as if it was not set pieced, offering us a very natural look but with an elegance that appealed to my eyes since the first moment I saw those photos. Even today, when I see Demarchelier’s photos in a magazine, it is a dazzling pleasure to me.
I remember the fascination it was looking for the photos of the king of the mise-en-scène. With him, I perceive myself about the strength that a photo must-have, and without that does not exist as a photo: composition. We can have a fantastic imagination, built a megalomaniacal scenario full of elements and a very well shed light on it, the right lens on the camera and nobody will look twice for the photo we so hardly worked for. But the master of that mystery always does it: Richard Avedon. From Avedon a simple portrait from someone, ugly or beautiful, man or woman, young or old it is, always, a lesson of composition. We may remember the fashion photos, with models and horses or elephants, as a monument to art and a fundamental reason to give to the photography is own place.
I recall the naturalist, and not present, Henry-Cartier Bresson, the almost three-dimensional photos from David Bailey, the New York Hellenic models from Bruce Weber, the portraits and photojournalist work from the trustee of the pop/rock movement photos, Annie Leibovitz or the powerful black and white photos from Robert Mapplethorpe. Those are just some examples of creators that I rarely quote or remember suddenly but, every time I click my photographic camera, I know that they are all of them present in that gesture. Even when I am doing wedding photography.
Thank you all.
Text and photos: Fernando Colaço