Wedding Bible Planner Photography Experts: Barker Evans
Your photographer is probably the most important professional you will hire on your wedding day. Top of the list when you've set the date is finding a good one. If you try and save money here you are likely to be disappointed. Your photographs, and a wedding film if you have one, are the only visual memento of your day.
Susie Barker and Harley Evans have between them four decades experience photographing weddings (including my own!). They created and compiled the real-weddings imagery in the original Wedding Bible Planner as well as the all-new edition - and made both just that little bit more gorgeous with their fantastic photography! They are also the featured experts in the Photography section of the book.
Renowned for their beautiful, magazine-style wedding imagery, Susie and Harley’s natural, glamorous style has grown out of a background in fashion, true old-style photojournalism and fine art photography. They are the only UK wedding photographers with a range of greetings cards, which are available in conjunction with Woodmansterne.
Barker Evans Photography Top Tips
And if Susie and Harley could only offer one piece of advice, it would be this: “When choosing a photographer it is important to have the right balance between loving the style of images and feeling the person behind the lens will bring out the best in you on the day.” Please do make time to visit the Barker Evans Blog to see just how they deliver on this – and time after time.
I’ve been asked to credit our wedding planning colleagues at Isobel Weddings who coordinated a wedding Susie and Harley chose to feature within their 'Expert' pages in the Wedding Bible Planner (the beautiful bride is the image above). We are grateful too to all the couples who so generously allowed us to share elements of their weddings with you alongside the advice from myself and my expert industry colleagues, and who are featured throughout the book.
(For your copy of the Wedding Bible Planner I can guarantee today’s best price is via Amazon.)
© Sarah Haywood
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Britain's Oldest Wedding Portrait
Taken in 1856 to celebrate their marriage, the image below of Hannah Pratley and George Taylor is I believe, the oldest surviving wedidng photograph in Britain. It shows none of the obvious joy and intimacy of a modern wedding photograph and uncovering it has taken me on an exciting journey of discovery. Here lies a tragic tale of a Victorian working women's lot and involving murder, intrigue, forgiveness and an evangelical Christian movement...
Hannah was born in 1832 in what is now the picturesque Cotswold town of Burford. In her late teens she worked as a housemaid, but just a few years later her life took a dramatic turn when she was jailed for the manslaughter of her new-born son. A contemporary newspaper then reports the tragic, unforeseen: "suicide of the reputed father of the child". Hannah had fallen pregnant by a married man. Upon jailing Hannah the judge remarked: "It is a painful thing to administer justice on a respectable young women who might have done better things… It is necessary to make an example to deter others".
Thankfully, after her spell in jail Hannah did gain some happiness when she met and married George Taylor. According to Pam Vowles, one of Hannah's descendants, the Bible - which you can see on Hannah's lap - was given to her by Isabella Reynolds, whose son Thomas was a leader of the Plymouth Brethren - a strict religious sect which follows a rigorous moral code to this day.
So how do we know our 1856 image is the oldest surviving wedding photograph? It is an ambrotype (made on a sheet of glass with a backing of black paper or varnish) which clearly dates it to before 1862. There is a wedding image of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert that was previously believed to be one of the earliest: but it is simply a recreation of their 1840 marriage taken over a decade later.
The image of George and Hannah is a far cry from the modern wedding photograph, which is blanketed in happiness and celebration: it is glamour-less, joyless and with little of the bride and groom's personalities shining through. The bride isn't smiling because this was considered a solemn occasion, there are no embraces - and certainly no kisses, with George allowed to do little more than extend an arm around his loved one's shoulder. They are of course dressed in their Sunday best: that was the norm. Modern wedding photographers are among the most proficient and talented in the trade, with carefully planned and detailed shoots. This however, was sold for little more than a shilling, was taken in a photographer's studio and with little or no preparation.
So this month, when we celebrate love on St Valentine's Day, the Leap Year (when a woman can traditionally propose) and also the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens, this wedding photograph really speaks to me and uncovering its story has made me think... The Victorians invented the art and science of photography and championed the now traditional wedding photograph: a moment captured in time that links us to our past as well as our future. Even those couples who prefer modern, reportage style photography generally opt for a few traditional poses. And in this age of digital photography when hundreds of wedding photographs are never printed, but instead viewed on a laptop, iPad and smartphone, the iconic image of the bride and groom generally does make the frame and is still proudly displayed on the mantelpiece.
Sarah Haywood © 2012
Thank you to Audrey Linkman for the fascinating insights in her book: The Victorians: A Photographic Portrait