Photographers who are lucky enough to shoot a Jewish wedding - and you should feel fortunate, for they are always wonderful commissions – always seems to pinpoint the dancing as the element which makes these celebrations unique.
But for me, the thrill is being allowed to photograph the ‘Bedeken’: the intimate ceremony where the Groom veils his Bride before the wedding ceremony itself.
Shortly before last Christmas I was delighted to learn that my clients Elise and James wanted this part of their day recording. Furthermore, the setting for their Bedeken would be the Royal Suite at the Renaissance Hotel, St Pancras. It’s an epic space and an added treat for me, because although I’m an official supplier at the hotel I had never been in their flagship suite.
I didn’t reveal to them just how nervous I was to get this right. Capturing such a personal family time can be tricky. Get this wrong and you’ll stick out, get it right and you have a little bit of gold, the significance of which galvanises over time.
For the technically-minded reader; I decided to leave my gear at the door and just use one camera and lens (Canon 5DMK3 body and a 50mm F1.2). I wanted to minimise movement and not be tempted to change lenses and keep fiddling with focal lengths. It’s a corner into which you only ever box yourself if you have total confidence in what you’re doing. Luckily, it paid off.
I’d like to thank Elise and James, together with their family, in allowing me to show these photographs, as I wasn’t sure if they’d be happy to reveal such a personal time. It’s to their great credit that they did, and I hope they shine a little light on an amazing section of such a happy day.
Below is a small set of what I feel are discreet and genuine shots; moments from a small but vitally important part of their day...