The latest (albeit somewhat delayed, apologies) in our series of interviews with the high achievers of this year's Iris Professional Photography Awards is with Christchurch wedding photographer, Clinton Lloyd. He picked up a Gold award – though not without some nerve-wracking debate from the judges – for this striking print in the Wedding Classic category. Clinton tells D-Photo how this involving monochrome shot came to be.
D-Photo: Can you tell us a little about the wedding this image comes from?
Clinton Lloyd: The wedding was for Caroline and Jason, and was held on Caroline’s childhood farm in Cave, South Canterbury. The farm has been in the family for generations and so the property and house has a lot of meaning to the couple. The wedding went spectacularly, the weather was scorching but with some beautiful cloud formations and plenty of rolling hills in all directions.
Where was this particular shot taken?
This shot was taken just before Caroline got into the heritage Land Rover and headed up to the ceremony, which was at the top of the farm in front of a giant rock formation. This is in the living and hall of her family home, which itself dates back generations.
What inspired you to set up the image the way you have?
I had visited the home prior to the wedding and Caroline’s mum showed me around, I knew immediately when I saw these two paintings hanging beside thedoor frame that I would shoot something with these. I love antique frames, and framing people within actual or natural “frames” is something I am always looking for. I had Caroline stand in the light to get her in the reflection, and shot several with her looking to camera (repeating the stare of the paintings) but the frame that captured me most was her looking away where the light wrapped right around her and it added to the sense of mystery for me.
What sort of gear were you using on this shoot?
I shoot weddings on Canon 5D Mark IIIs, I shot this with the 24-70mm f/2.8 II, which I knew at the time I would regret as it has a lot of perspective distortion that I would have to correct for given the lines and boxes were crucial to my composition. But I had to get a ride up to the ceremony so I didn’t have time to go grab another lens.
What was it about the image that made you select it for the Iris competition?
It was one of my favourite images from last season and I loved the symbolism and depth that the photo carries with themes like frames within frames, the actual family lineage of the bride through to the juxtaposition of the darkly classic portraits with the modern “portrait” of the bride in the mirror.
Is the Iris print processed any differently from the print you made for the client?
I had gone through and re-edited it from scratch for Iris, but when I compared it to the original I had edited the difference was hardly noticeable, I felt like I had just wasted my time! My perspective control was better, and after taking advice from local photography guru Katherine Williams she advised that I would be permitted to edit out the light switch for Iris entry as it was an incidental element to the frame. That made a huge difference for me as I had tried several ways to get the light switch not to be a competing focal point but wasn’t hugely successful.
Did you hear the judging of this image?
I didn’t hear the live judging as I was shooting a wedding (in torrential rain) on the day, however I was getting text updates from NZIPP friends and my business partners who were watching it on the livestream back in the office. I would have probably been sick had I heard the judging live as it initially scored 86 and there was some opposition to the notion of scoring it higher. I owe the Gold to Ian really, as he somehow got completely in my headspace and understood what I was trying to do with the image. He fought for the other judges to raise their scores and brought their attention to the themes I was presenting, not just the obvious frame within a frame, and family legacy but also the photo versus portrait/old versus contemporary idea, which was why I had closed the curtains in the living room to make the paintings dull and let the bride shine in the middle.
What was your clients' initial reaction to their wedding images?
Caroline and Jason loved them, I think one of the comments was that I’ve made life so difficult for them to be able to choose a realisticnumber of photos in their album, which is a good problem to give people as a photographer. I let them know after winning the award and hope that sometime the photo might join the other artwork throughout the house (it could always hang where the mirror is for a bit of a photo-inception moment, haha).
For more wonderful wedding work from Clinton Lloyd and his team at Lovelight Wedding Cinema and Photography, click here