by Charlotte Moss Published 01/10/2014
Based on the Isle of Man, David Silvester is an adaptable and creative photographer capable of shooting almost anything his island customers can throw at him. A childhood fascination with reproducing what he saw on to film encouraged David to photograph his first wedding clients in 1978 and he's been creating dramatic images ever since.
"Being based on an island means that every day is different" David tells me. With a population of only 85,000 on the island itself (that's comparable to a town such as Lincoln or Bath) and around two- to three-dozen working photographers, there's no room for a devoted wedding or portrait specialist and word-of-mouth referrals are the key to getting work. "Every project is a challenge and I make sure I go the extra mile to ensure people enjoy their photography sessions. A cup of tea, a glass of wine or a cuddle with the dog - whatever it takes to put someone at ease and make them really relax and enjoy themselves in my state-of-the-art studio." Happy customers mean a happy business; referrals and repeat customers mean that David never has to actively market his work. "People are already booking ahead for 2015 and 2016 because they know of someone who's enjoyed being photographed by me."
During the course of a wedding day David has a few tricks up his sleeves to keep the whole process enjoyable for the happy couple while bagging him some great images. "I take the couple away from their guests for an hour or two after they are married so that I can shoot something special for them," he tells me.
While most wedding photographers shoot portraits after the ceremony at the wedding venue, David has a different idea to keep the couple focused on each other rather than their guests. "After the ceremony the couple will jump in the wedding car, or come along with me, I'll hand them a bottle of chilled Prosecco and we'll go somewhere special to shoot. For the first time since they started making plans for their wedding day, they can relax and have some time to themselves as newlyweds.' Of course this has the advantage of letting David take some truly unique shots for the wedding album that everybody will be looking forward to seeing.
In addition to shooting weddings and portraits, David is also known for pointing his lens at action-packed motorsport - and being based on the Isle of Man, why wouldn't you? Every year sees racing motorcycles zoom virtually past his front door in the form of the Isle of Man TT. David is also an accredited photographer at the 24 Hours of Le Mans where he claims that the hardest challenge is staying awake for the full duration of the day-long race! "You have no time for sleep," he tells me with a hint of excitement in his voice!
"Sometimes the photographers take an hours' rest before dawn but really you don't want to sleep." Since there are so many iconic shots of the Le Mans circuit I wondered what David looked for when he shoots the race. "Although I try to shoot the classic shots, I'm always looking for something that's not been covered before. It's like a wedding in that respect; I try to never go back to the same location twice."
After many years of dedication to shooting motorsports David has recently been made the Motorsports Ambassador for Olympus Cameras in the UK. It's exciting times ahead for David with the possibility of many new opportunities!
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