Favourite Frames – She’s Leaving Home

Ok ok! So the title I’ve given this image “She’s Leaving Home” is a little misleading, as the bride stood in the doorway seems to be the one person in the photo NOT leaving home. And yes, yes, reference to the well known Beatles song and lyrics doesn’t quite work, as the song in question is a whole lot more melancholic than anything experienced on a wedding day, and yet still I often find the tune running through my mind at this stage in the day! Right from the word go, the wedding day is filled with emotions. Most of them of course are positive, such as popping a bottle of champagne open during bridal prep, or parents and bridesmaids seeing the bride in her dress for the first time, but there are also very symbolic points during the day that bring about a moment of reflection or even sadness. The moment, for example, when the father of the bride gives his daughter away and the moment during the speeches when the groom will ask everyone to remember absent friends and family both spring to mind, but there is also something melancholic I feel about the bride departing for her wedding from the home that she has grown up in. That’s why I always prefer to photograph the bride getting ready at home, rather than at the venue or a hotel, and why on the day of Louise’s wedding I’d already come outside as soon as I saw the wedding car arrive, to plan the shot I could get. I’d noticed the neighbour loitering from her bedroom window, and I knew I wanted to include her in the shot. What I couldn’t have predicted was that Louise would wait so nicely framed by the front door, and that her dad would choose that moment (while dressed in his morning suit) to put the cat out!

Technically speaking, I knew I wanted to capture as much detail in the scene as possible, which is why I chose to use a wide-angle lens and a small aperture that would bring everything into focus. The picture isn’t perfect of course. I wish there was more of an interaction between the mother of the bride and the chauffeur, but there are so many reasons to love the picture. I really enjoy the juxtaposition between the wedding car in the foreground and the normality of the suburban semi in the background. I’m a real fan of the documentary photographer Simon Roberts, and although my pictures aren’t in the same league, the tableau I’ve captured here does remind me of his work.