You might have seen Queensland, Australia-based wedding photographer Edwina Robertson's name around lately—she's the photographer who donated $15,000 to Tie Up the Black Dog, a nonprofit committed to helping people with depression and mental illness in rural Australian communities, after one of her photos went viral. Robertson shared the rest of that wedding with us, and more of the story behind how all of this unfolded.
Queensland is a fairly large territory—about seven times the size of Great Britain, or two and a half Texases—and of that land, 80 percent of it has been suffering through some major drought for the past few years. Earlier this year, Robertson met couple Ross and Ingrid, and Ross' mom, at another wedding. "I struck up a conversation with Ross’ mum who mentioned that they (Ross and Ingrid) would love to have me as their photographer but due to the drought and financial hardship, I was outside of their budget," the photographer explains.
Robertson did a little probing though, and discovered their date was wide open for her ("surprisingly, in a busy month"), so she offered them a package deal that was more accommodating to their situation. "I know it’s a huge no-no to 'discount,' but this was more about helping people who I genuinely knew were going through a tough situation at no fault of their own," she says. "Sometimes, business is about making a difference, not being wealthy. Believe it or not, you can be and do both!"
The wedding would take place in Blackall, Ingrid’s hometown, and one of the towns affected by the massive drought. "[Ingrid] tragically lost her father in a motor vehicle accident six years prior," Robertson relays, "and her mother had been running the family property ever since. In the week of their wedding, they had to de-stock (sell all of their cattle) due to financial hardship and not enough feed. A very hard and sad decision to make. The wedding really was about support, friends and foremost, love. These people are resilient and never complain about anything. I was so honoured to be there to witness this!"
The only obstacle during her time shooting Ross and Ingrid's wedding was getting to Blackall, Robertson says. "It was a 9-hour drive to get their, so that in itself was a challenge!" Blackall may not have been the easiest to get to, but the photographer was certainly welcomed when she arrived.
"Everyone in Blackall (a town of approximately 1,300 residents) was extremely excited about this event," she says. "The town’s population grew by 15 percent overnight, so it was a nice cash injection into the community. Ross and Ingrid sourced as much as they could for their day from local vendors. They wanted to give back to the community they love so much and make a small difference during such a difficult time. I felt a great sense of community spirit in the three days I spent there and to me as an outsider, it was more than just a wedding for so many. This was an occasion of joy, hope and a time to get their minds off the drought."
Robertson was so inspired that after the wedding, she took one of the photos she shot (above) and uploaded it to Facebook, letting the social media sphere know that she'd be donating $3 every time the photo was shared within the first 24 hours. The next day, the photographer donated $15,000 to Tie Up the Black Dog, having racked up nearly 5,000 shares on Facebook.
"This wedding and story is the start of something much bigger," Robertson says. "I hope that this story brings some light to rural communities and inspires other photographers to use their skills to bring positivity to this world."
Cameras: Canon 5D Mark III
Lenses: Canon 17-40mm f/4L, Canon 135mm f/2, Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art, Sigma 85mm f/1.4