by Charlotte Moss Published 01/12/2014
Stuart Bebb started out in scientific photography, photographing plants of all things, but progressed on to weddings due an inspirational lecturer while he was at college. He photographed his first wedding in 1980 and has been running his own photography business ever since.
"I've got a streak in me that always strives to get something perfectly right," says Stuart when I ask him what drives him to keep taking photographs. "You always think that the next shot is going to be better, so even after all these years I still want to improve my work." Weddings provide a fantastic opportunity for Stuart to keep pushing his skills and surpassing his previous shots; "One of the great things about weddings is that they are never the same. There are always different people with different expectations - as well as the unpredictable weather of course - and that leads to wedding photography being one of the most challenging types of photography."
Stuart has covered weddings in some of the most beautiful locations around Oxfordshire. Blenheim Palace, Christchurch College and Stowe Landscape Gardens have all served as backdrops for Stuart's wedding photos but I wanted to know if photographing at locations so grand and well known added pressure to a wedding day. "To avoid making each album look like any other you've photographed you have to put people in different locations and then light them in a way that reflects the people's personality, not the venue. If you talk to people and get to know them, that will reflect in your shots and they will be different to everybody else's shots from that place. Sometimes things work and sometimes they don't, but you have always got to keep pushing yourself and trying new things."
Working with Oxford University as a photographer means that Stuart gets to photograph in other prestigious locations too. Recently he has been photographing visiting humanities lecturers at the Ashmolean Museum, which is owned by Oxford University. "Initially the work was just to photograph a lecture but I suggested to them that I'd be interested in photographing the visiting lecturers too, since they get such fascinating people coming to the department, and they jumped on the idea!" Since the museum works so closely with the humanities department of the university, the decision was made to shoot there. "The Ashmolean is incredible, they redeveloped it several years ago and it now has an amazing staircase with the most incredible light coming in from the ceiling. It is a wonderful place to photograph lecturers for the university." Of course spending time in the Ashmolean provides Stuart with inspiration for his photography, but I wanted to know where else he looks. "I can get inspiration from everywhere. Art galleries are great, but I like to look at landscapes, architecture, fashion images - basically anything!"
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