Making History - John Denton reflects on the very first of the Societies Members Days - part 1 of 1 2 3

by John Denton Published 01/06/2010


I thought long and hard over the title for this article and eventually plumped for one that not just described my feelings at presenting the inaugural Members Day for the Societies but also described my approach to wedding photography.

When Phil and Juliet asked me to work with them on the Members Day programme I was honoured. When I realised I was working on the very first, I was terrified!

It's a fantastic new innovation for the Societies, getting out into all the regions and offering inspiration and training to the members on a regular basis. The sessions are designed around a specific photographic genre with a top practitioner in the field providing their views, advice and expertise.

So it was with no little trepidation that I drove North on the Wednesday prior to the session. I teach a range of workshops, one-to-ones and bespoke programmes but this was an entirely new format for me. Two four-hour sessions ranging around one specific subject.

Bride and Groom close upThe A1 is always a mixture of pleasure and pain. I love the fact that the old name of this highway is the Great North Road. It conjures up a spirit in me of romance and travel, stagecoaches and adventure. That spirit wasn't often recognised as I progressed through road works and rain, with one striking exception. Every time I approach the Angel of the North do I experience a leap in my heart, a surge of working class pride and a recognition that artists can make a huge impression upon their audience. Anthony Gormley did that to superb effect with this piece and serves to remind me of the impact our images make on our wedding clients.

Their landscape is one of happy hearts, group shots, food, drink and big white frocks. Our landscape, as creative artists, is one of beauty, light and relationship. We, as professional image-makers, have to draw on every tool available to make each wedding link these elements, enjoyable for the couple and artistic in the final imagery.


So when I drove into Perth and found a gorgeous town in a magnificent setting I was instantly assured that this was going to be a good session. Furthermore I drove into the hotel and found a venue that offered a superb range of architectural and lighting possibilities. The only issue at 5pm on that Wednesday evening was that the sun was shining to the max. What, I thought, was the point in teaching Scots photographers the techniques required to work in the sunshine?

After that brief episode of national stereotyping it was my pleasure to enter the hotel, book a room and straight away explore the venue with a view to shooting in different areas. I was impressed and excited at the range of options available, limiting them to a four-hour shooting session would be the challenge!Outside the wedding venue

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1st Published 01/06/2010
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