I am delighted to have just been nominated for The Wedding Industry Awards 2013. One of the very first weddings I covered was for Hello! Magazine in 1991, Pete Waterman’s wedding at Daresbury Church, Warrington to Denise Gyngell former dancer with 80′s dance group Tight Fit. As well as the commission from Hello! I also took Peter & Denise’s official wedding day photographs.
I have created a facebook fan page http://www.facebook.com/HowardBarlowPhotographer showcasing everyday photographs all taken on my Leica M9 with 35mm Leitz Summicron F2 lens. This photograph of our 16 week old Working Cocker Spaniel, Baxter, was in black & white mode, straight out of the camera with no post production work. Follow my fan page for new photographs each day.
It’s been a while since I have covered a horse racing story. Yesterday The Guardian commissioned me to photograph at Chester Racecourse where they were trialling the introduction of hurdles. Competing against other specialist racing photographers it was very satisfying to come up with the scoop picture – Trainer Donald McCain’s horse ridden by jockey Jason Maguire fell at the last hurdle. Never nice to see a fall but fortunately the horse and jockey were only winded. See Guardian story with - http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/oct/01/chester-hurdles-trial-officials
Our new Working Cocker Spaniel puppy Baxter is now 11 weeks old and like all babies quite a handful. He has already bitten through my printer cable and has hidden countless numbers of socks. His greatest pleasure, like Kerry and I, is gardening! Well kind of gardening, as you can see from the photographs taken on Sunday. Baxter’s idea of gardening is to take our gloves when we are not looking and bury them in a big hole, he’s not quite got the hang of pruning either, more chewing up our precious plants! Like all our previous dogs Baxter certainly has lots of character !!
These are some of my favourite images from the four weddings I have photographed over the last few weeks. Ben & Suzy were married at Jacksons Row Synagogue and had their reception at the Great John Street Hotel in the city centre of Manchester. Another Manchester city centre wedding at the Town Hall and reception at Rain Bar for Nadine and Dave. Kate and Dave were married out in Cheshire at Sandhole Barn in Congleton and Steve and Nathalie had an outdoor wedding in the lovely grounds of the Saddleworth Hotel. Most of the wedding couples who have visited our home over the last 18 months have been welcomed by Lily our lovely springer spaniel. Sadly Lily left us this week and is now chasing rabbits in doggie heaven.
Kerry and I entered our village scarecrow competition this weekend with our version of Zara Phillips jumping our garden hedge! A lot of fun and turning lots of heads from cyclists and cars passing by !
A few weeks before each wedding we photograph, Kerry and I arrange a pre wedding shoot with the couple. Either here in our rural village setting or at the wedding venue. This gives the couple a chance to get to know us better and begin to relax and feel comfortable in front of the camera, it also gives us a chance to talk through all the final details of the wedding day. My style is very non intrusive and these pre wedding shoots are always a lot of fun. This month I photographed Ben & Suzy who getting married at Jackson’s Row Synagogue and who are having their reception at the fashionable Great John Street Hotel. We walked through the route they will take on the day, strolling through St Johns gardens, crossing the busy Deansgate road in the heart of Manchester’s shopping area…..Another city centre wedding Nadine and Dave are getting married in a couple of days at Manchester Town Hall with the reception on the roof at the Rain Bar, will be fantastic with this great weather which is set to continue! Nathalie & Steve came to us for their pre wedding shoot in the country, Nathalie swapping her high heels for a pair of our wellies! for the photographs in the woodland area behind our home. They are to be married under the pagoda at the Saddleworth Hotel, beautiful setting.
As the weddings for this year are revving up, I photographed a lovely couple, Kate & Dave, last night for their pre-wedding shoot. We met at Sandhole Barn, Congleton, where they are to be married next month. As a venue it should prove to be great for the photographs. I always arrange to meet wedding a couples 5 or 6 weeks before their big day giving us chance to run through and identify the distinctive features that will make their wedding unique. I’m always looking for these shots as they are a vital part of the celebration and make the special memories in years to come.
I photographed the unveiling of the Eleanor Rigby statue seat in Liverpool in 1982 for the Daily Telegraph. Uncle Charlie Lennon sat on the seat next to his ex army friend Tommy McKenzie who told me he was THE Father McKenzie. It was only yesterday when I sold one of my limited edition photographs that I decided to find out more about who Father McKenzie and Eleanor Rigby were. On researching I have found countless explanations. The name of the 1966 song’s character was actually Father McCartney for a while, but Paul didn’t want anyone to confuse this with his dad, so one account has Paul thumbing through a telephone directory until he came up with McKenzie. The one person who claimed to be THE real Father McKenzie was not a priest but Tommy McKenzie a friend and fellow army veteran of Uncle Charlie Lennon. He was also the compere of the Beatles five concerts at Northwich Memorial Hall between 1962-63 and a close friend of the band when he lived in Liverpool.
Eleanor Rigby was originally a Miss Daisy Hawkins according to Donovan whom McCartney played the song before it was finished with completely different lyrics. Paul also claims he came up with the name Eleanor from actress Eleanor Bron, who had starred in the Beatles film Help! However, it has been pointed out that the graveyard of St Peters Church in Liverpool, where John Lennon and Paul MCartney first met, contains the gravestone of an individual called Eleanor Rigby. Paul McCartney has admitted he may have been unconsciously influenced by the name on the gravestone. In the 1980s, a grave of an Eleanor Rigby was “discovered” in the graveyard of St. Peter’s Parish Church in Woolton, Liverpool, and a few yards away from that, another tombstone with the last name McKenzie scrawled across it. During their teenage years, McCartney and Lennon spent time sunbathing there, within earshot of where the two had met for the first time during a fete in 1957. Many years later McCartney stated that the strange coincidence between reality and lyric could be a product of his subconscious, rather than being a meaningless fluke. The actual Eleanor Rigby was born in 1895 and lived in Liverpool, possibly in the suburb of Woolton, where she married a man named Thomas Woods. She died on 10 October 1939 at age 44. Whether this Eleanor was the inspiration for the song or not, her tombstone has become a landmark to Beatles fans visiting Liverpool. A digitised version was added to the 1995 music video for The Beatles’ reunion song “Free as a Bird”.
It’s not every week one has a full page photograph published in The Observer (although I have had a few), so it was a particular pleasure to open the paper this morning to see my photograph of actor Daniel Evans. I went over to Sheffield on Tuesday evening to photograph Daniel at the Crucible Theatre where he is artistic director. Jay Rayner’s interview is about him taking on the lead acting role in a new production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company. The Observer asked me for a bright picture that would have impact as a full page. The Crucible couldn’t provide the back drop I was looking for so after a quick reccy I did the shoot at the Lyceum next door on the set of Buddy. We only had a few minutes between Daniel finishing his Company rehearsal and the curtain going up for Buddy.
What an amazing venue the Devonshire Dome in Buxton is. A couple of weeks ago I photographed Viv & George’s fantastic wedding day there. It was once a magnificent 18th century stable block built by the 5th Duke of Devonshire. The dome was completed in 1882 as the Royal Devonshire Hospital and is over 150 ft in diameter, bigger than St Paul’s Cathedral in London, and was once the largest unsupported dome in the world and still is in Britain. The autumnal colours outside were just beautiful with lots of light coming through the dome, for a photographer at this time of year this was a big bonus.
I was in Cambridge again a couple of weeks ago to photograph Emily and James’s wedding at Downing College. As with all weddings I like to do a recce of the venue before and the college did not disappoint, the chapel and grounds looked beautiful with the autumn colours against the magnificent columns. At the rehearsal Emily, her dad and bridesmaids play acted how they would arrive for the wedding, in the low setting sun they mimed arriving in the wedding car, a lot of fun and helpful for me to test out the challenging lighting conditions as the wedding party entered the chapel. I was really pleased with the results on the day, the black & white shot of the bride and her bridesmaids coming through the doors worked amazingly well, the recce certainly paid off. The wedding itself was a fantastic day, Emily & James and their families were a pleasure to photograph. The reception was across the road at the University Arms Hotel.
I have teamed up with a new aspiring company Don’t Talk To Me About Heroes. They have signed up “12 of the greatest music photographers” to produce a series of t-shirts. So if you like my rock band photographs they are now available for you to wear through donttalktomeaboutheroes.com in amazing quality. The website is only a few days old so have a look. Aki, who has set up this photographer’s project called me this morning to say my shot of Tom Verlaine is one of the favourite hits and selling well. Creative Review have just done a very positive write-up and used 2 of my images in their article. Let me know what you think !
I have been commissioned by leading Manchester law firm KUITS to provide wall art for their refurbished city centre offices. Over the last couple of months I have photographed buildings Kuits have been associated with, along with other iconic Manchester scenes. I have had the photographs printed as Giclée Fine Art Prints (pronounced “gee-clay”). They are extremely high quality, archival grade, digital prints that use an ultra fine inkjet printing process to produce photographs of intense colour and vibrancy. Giclée printing is widely regarded as one of the very best photographic and fine art printing methods currently available. You can view and purchase these and other photographs on my website. Great gift idea.
Nick & Kate got married in Styal, well Styal Lodge to be precise. A lovely purpose built wedding venue just outside Wilmslow in Cheshire. As a photographer there was plenty of available light, especially in the lounge area set aside for the bride to get ready. My favourite shot from the day was when Kate’s dad saw his daughter for the first time in her wedding dress.
I’ve had my Nikon D700 cameras for nearly 2 years and never used the 3200 iso rating… until yesterday. The results with hardly any light on Katie’s stunning Caroline Castigliano were equally stunning. Katie & Steven were married at Davenport Green Hall, Hale in Cheshire. It was a beautiful wedding and after the poor recent weather, lovely for the wedding party to be able to enjoy the warm September evening.
I photographed Mark & Deborah’s lovely wedding on Sunday. It was a very happy day, the venue was the Old Swan Hotel in picturesque Harrogate. These are some of my favourite moments…
Having a wedding in August you would expect a good chance of sunshine. Sharmini & Kevin planned a beautiful outdoor wedding at Thornton Manor on the Wirral and that is exactly what they got, but it was touch and go right up to the last minute. With 15 minutes to ceremony time, all the guests were assembled in the marquee, then the rain passed and they made the decision to go ahead with their dream wedding outside. The setting was magnificent. Straight after the ceremony the couple slipped away and re-appeared sailing across the lake arriving in front of the marquee to the applause of their friends and family. For their amazing ‘first dance’ they used a giant keyboard to step out the music of Kraftwork.
David & Clare were married at Menorah Synagogue, South Manchester where they first met as children in the cheder. These are some of my favourite pictures from a truly lovely wedding.
For every wedding I photograph, I offer a ‘pre-wedding’ shoot as part of the commission. I feel it is important to get to know the couple before their big day, it helps them feel more relaxed and confident about being photographed. It also gives Kerry and I a chance to sit down discuss the finer details of the wedding day. During August and September I am photographing five weddings; David & Clare at Menorah Synagogue, Sharmini & Kevin at Thornton Manor on the Wirral, Mark & Deborah at the Old Swan in Harrogate, Steven & Katie at Davenport Green Hall in Hale, Kate & Nick at Styal Lodge. They are all beautiful venues and promise to be very photogenic weddings. Below are photographs from their pre-wedding shoots.
I have just posted out the photographs of Johnny & Emily’s beautiful Welsh wedding. Emily’s mum Liz had the honour of marrying her daughter in the tiny picturesque chapel on Anglesey with the reception at the luxury Tre-Ysgawen Hall spa hotel, Llangefni. Here are some of my favourites from the day.
We covered a lovely wedding at the weekend at South Farm near Cambridge. With the forecast set for sunshine and showers, Robert and Lisa hedged their bets for the ceremony. They set up two possible venues, outside in the beautiful gardens but if it rained, in the lovely beamed barn. Thirty minutes before the wedding the sun was shining and guests were beginning to assemble in the gardens, then, you guessed it, the heavens opened and it was a quick dash to the barn. As a photographer I had chosen my positions carefully for the outdoor service and was excited by the photo opportunities, the beautiful bride being escorted by her father into the little summer house beside the pond…etc… But it was not to be and I headed for the barn. But South Farm is a fabulous wedding venue and it worked out really well, the barn was charming and much more intimate. Lisa and Robert’s family were much closer to the ceremony than they would have been outside. As the rain pounded on the barn roof and at times drowned out the vows, I was able to take lots of natural pictures. I particularly liked this shot, as Lisa and Robert officially became husband and wife.
This week I have given two lectures and had an exhibition ‘Politicians’ at south Manchester’s first Jewish Arts Festival. During the 80′s and 90′s I was commissioned to cover many of the party political conferences for The Independent and Daily Telegraph. I have hundreds of negatives from Blackpool and Brighton as well as other shots of politicians from interviews and election campaigns. I am slowly going through these ‘contact sheets’ and the hope is that I will have a book and bigger exhibition next year. Here are four of the images. Others in the exhibition click here.
It was lovely to see a Pied Wagtail feeding her young this morning on our lawn. There has been a dramatic fall in the Wagtail population over the last few years, related to insect supplies and use of chemicals. Certainly no chemicals used on our lawn it is mainly moss! which does provide good nest material. We have young Bull Finches, tree and house sparrows at the moment. The more birds in the garden the less slugs eating our plants!
Back home after having spent last week in London as Barry Manilow’s personal photographer for four nights. My commission, from his Los Angeles management, was to take backstage photographs after each performance of Barry with friends and family. The first night party guests included one of my favourite comedians Miranda Hart and television presenter Cat Deely. The four sell-out shows were at London’s O2 arena and also featured Lorna Luft (Judy Garlands daughter) and the amazing Straight No Chaser, as support band. It was great to be part of a very professional and slick team, they move onto Las Vegas now for a full season of concerts. Barry was very complimentary about my photography and hoped we could work more together…here’s hoping.