Wedding photography may be David Weightman’s main squeeze, but the documentarian in him knows when it’s time to pursue a personal project. Last year, the Surrey, England, photographer began shooting a series of portraits with his old large-format, 4 x 5 Ansco camera at The National Wedding Show in London, the UK’s biggest wedding fair, and asking show-goers about their wedding aspirations.
Weightman got the idea after the talks he’d have with his brides before their weddings, intrigued by their plans and how, often times, they had been dreaming of their big day for years.
He booked a 2 x 3-meter space at the show, setting up two Metz speed lights (one bounced off a reflector above the camera, the other attached to a tripod and aimed at the floor) and loaded his Ansco with Kodak Portra 400 film. People wandered into the pop-up studio, but Weightman wasn’t afraid to approach people he thought looked interesting too. “The diverse range of people I was able to photograph, the similarity in the way couples dress and the subtleties in the way they posed with one another, I find fascinating,” Weightman says of the willing participants, who were all at different stages of their wedding planning. “What they reveal, I think, juxtaposes nicely with the pictures and adds a bit of humor, in some cases.”
The legendary Richard Avedon was a big influence in this project, Weightman asserts. By simply directing the subjects where to stand, the opportunity to capture an array of personalities was wide open. “There seem to be so many traditions and voices saying weddings must be done this way or that, and for many young couples it may well be the biggest investment they’ve made,” the photographer notes. “I wanted to cut through all of that to a portrait of them at this pivotal time in their lives.”
All subjects received a copy of their portrait, and today, Weightman has begun shooting 4 x 5 portraits at some of his actual weddings, too.