Covert Exercise


Fig. 01

It is strange how occasionally things come together. My lovely daughter got married last weekend and, whilst I didn’t want to spend too much time with a camera in my hand, I wanted a few pictures of my own from the day. In the week before the wedding I had been looking at Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s (1) well known series Heads (here) in the context of covert street photography so I appropriated his idea and transferred it from the street into an enclosed space.

The evening before the wedding I mounted a flashgun with a wireless receiver on one of the walls with the light pointing up into the high, cream coloured, ceiling of the venue barn. This gave me bounced light and the cream coloured ceiling took the edge off the potentially harsh flash light. I wanted to isolate people from the background so I chose a 105mm lens and a wireless trigger and this combination allowed me to photograph people in and around the dance floor without their knowledge.

diCorcia took four thousand pictures in the making of Heads and selected just seventeen for publication; because I was quite busy with other things I only took around a hundred, mostly in very short bursts over the space of five hours.

The majority of photographs taken at weddings are captured with the cooperation of the subject; they have the opportunity to, as Barthes (2) would put it, transform themselves into an images so these pictures offer a different perspective, this set is candid but, like diCorcia’s pictures they are non judgemental, there is no intent to capture embarrassing moments which, in the context of a gathering of family and friends, would be inappropriate.

The five photographs that I have selected and the contact sheet that follows them are all instances where the subject is momentarily isolated from the crowd, engaged in a moment of private contemplation while the lights and sounds of the party swirl around them, creating the juxtaposition of a lively celebration and the temporary solitude of an individual.

A Series of Five

Fig. 02

Fig. 02

Fig. 03

Fig. 03


Fig. 04

Fig. 05

Fig. 05

Fig. 06

Fig. 06

Contact Sheet




(1) diCorcia, Philip-Lorca ( 2013) Philip-Lorca diCorcia: published in conjunction with the exhibition at the De Pomnt Musuem of Contemporary Art, Tiburg October 2013 to January 2014. Bielefeld: Gesamtherstellung und Vertrieb

(2) Barthes, Roland. (1980) Camera Lucida. London: Vintage Books

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