I’m very excited about Saturday and even the next few weeks. Same-sex marriage is legal in the UK from Saturday the 29th of March 2014. I have the privilege of photographing not only on the very first day, but also the same-sex wedding photographer at four other weddings in London over the next few months for both men and women.
Having photographed civil partnerships since 2007, I know that the ceremony will not be that different from civil partnership photography. When I did photograph my very first civil partnership, I was a little nervous about what the couple wanted from me, so I asked a couple of my closest friends who also happen to be gay. They came back with the simple but brilliant answer of, “just ask them what they want.”
That was my ah-ha moment. That request for simple, informal, natural photographs which capture the story of the day helped me realize that it really is that straight-forward. Same-sex weddings are the same as any wedding – a celebration of the vows to love and stay together through thick and thin.
So when I am asked about how I approach being a same-sex marriage photographer, my answer is equally simple. I don’t do anything differently than I would at any other wedding. I take natural, reportage photographs which aim to capture the little moments or “stories” of the day. There’s nothing camp, nothing cheesy, nothing particularly gay in my photography style – just happy, informal photographs that tell and honest story of the day (well, and aim to ensure the couple are captured in the most flattering way possible).
To some the change tomorrow might seem small, but they are wrong. It is not merely a change in name, it is the institutional acceptance that marriage is marriage. It is a legal status between two people who love each other and are choosing to voluntarily commit for life. It is a great step forward to humankind in my opinion. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has said this week that the church should show “the love of Christ for every human being.” Now that’s something I can toast. Maybe I even will at tomorrow’s wedding.