The most important photos in the world!

Having been a full time professional photographer in Devon for 27 years now and having traveled the world photographing many amazing places & people. Having photographed over 1400 weddings and worked for some great business clients such as BMW, Royal Mail and Barclays Bank. Having work published in every single UK national newspaper including a couple of front covers as well as work in many magazines from Practical Photography to OK, Cosmo & RED you would imagine picking the three most important photos in the world would be impossible, yet it was very easy indeed.

These three images might not be striking sunsets, stunning wildlife or filled with celebrity and fame. Indeed they wouldn’t even get highly commended in one of the many camera club print competitions I am asked to judge, but to me they are the most important photos in the world.

Photo number one is my Nan, Vera. Vera Kendal (nee Juggins). We lived very close to my Nan Vera, just a 2 minute walk (or 30 second run) and I spent many lovely hours with her. Sadly she is no longer with us but this photo to me sums up my Nan. Sat in the sunshine by the back door of her council house in Oxford watering can by her side, she had a great garden, a greenhouse, shed and was always growing tomatoes in her front room. She was always happy to sit for a photo for me, maybe she knew. This isn’t the technically best photo I ever took of her. I had another black & white in her armchair taken on medium format film & hand printed by me but this shows more of the wonderful lady I remember.

Photo number two wasn’t taken by me but I am in it. This was my band Controlled Death (I played bass) the morning after a gig at the squat behind in Hengelo Holland called The Innocent Club (I think is still there), The Dutch said we sounded like the Sex Pistols which I took to mean we couldn’t play a note! This photo is precious because we were 16 years old at the time (1988) and the chap on the left Darran who was my best friend through school, early work and guitarist for Controlled Death was sadly killed in a car accident two years later. I still have vivid memories of that night in 1988 best kept inside my head and not shared with my two sons!

Finally another photos of me rather than by me. My wedding to my wife Natasha. A very happy day indeed as I nearly didn’t make it to my own wedding, a month earlier having been rushed into hospital with a life threatening abscess on my brain. We were told the best case scenario was losing the eyesight in my left eye the worst involved my funereal. Thanks to an amazing surgeon at The RD&E my life and eventually my sight was saved and I made a 99% full recovery.

It makes you stop, take stock and count your blessings. Always document & photograph your life & loved ones, you have no idea how long they will be with us and although a photograph isn’t the same as a person it is a precious thing to have.

My one photographic regret in life is not having taken a portrait of my dear old friend Gordon the bank robber (he was in the 1960’s/70’s) such a character and good friend. When he was dying of emphysema a few years ago I asked him many times if he would sit for a portrait, he always made excuses and today was never the right day. I should have persisted as all I have now is a fading memory of his face, I would dearly love to have a photograph to remember him by.

So this weekend, whether you are a professional photographer or someone with an iPhone take photos, document your life, your friends and your loved ones, keep them immortalized for future generations.

For my photographic work please visit www.evolvephoto.co.uk

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Tunnels Beaches Devon

You could be excused for thinking you are abroad in summer at Tunnels Beaches, hidden, tucked away and secluded in a cliff overlooking the sea in North Devon anyone who has visited these historic bathing pools would not be surprised to hear it is now one of Britain’s most popular exclusive wedding venues. As the dream of a beach wedding in the Caribbean fades with all the logistical problems of getting your nearest and dearest halfway around the world, suddenly The North Devon link road doesn’t seem so much to conquer and the alluring charms of Ilfracombe call to put seal on another holiday romance.

I have had the pleasure of photographing at Tunnels Beaches (or as my florist wife & I call it Tunnels) many times in the past, so many in fact that I have encountered British seaside weather in all it’s vagaries. From stunningly hot October days to gale force winds & rain, sea fog, spring sunshine & even hail. Snow is the only weather I haven’t yet encountered there, but that is due to the winter closing of the venue, a wise decision considering it’s exposed position.

For a venue that hosts more weddings than I photograph (usually I photograph between 80-90 a year) the venue is always immaculate, spotless and like-new. From the time the late night party revelers from the wedding that day leave in the wee hours of the morning to the arrival of the next nervous Groom the North Devon elves must appear and clean and scrub with such vigor that no trace of any wedding ever happening before yours will be left. This goes for the staff also who are always bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, happy, attentive, polite and cheerful without being overbearing. Welcoming to the suppliers & guests alike to make sure that today’s couple have the most amazing wedding day and to treat them as if they are the only couple ever to get married at Tunnels Beaches.

I have witnessed the most stunning sunsets from the roof top, whilst guests join us drinks in hand music playing throughout the venue and out onto the patio area overlooking the sea where couples sit by a fire-pit snuggled under blankets reminiscing about their own special day or planning one to come.

From a couples perspective Tunnels has everything you need for a relaxing beach wedding day,  from the gasp as your guests exit the Victorian hand carved tunnels into the sea/beach vista before them to the awe-inspiring Atlantic sunsets (well it’s The Bristol Channel really but watching the sun set behind the Island of Lundy, who cares?!).

For a photographer it is a dream venue, no wonder every wedding photographer in the UK wants to book a wedding here! Tide in or tide out the scene changes and the sea covers or revels the tidal pools, those reflections, that light and all in such a relaxed manner you have to pinch yourself to remember you are working. I hope you enjoy these few photos from Tunnels Beaches as much as I enjoyed capturing them and with another year of weddings ahead I cannot wait to return. More photos at Evolve Photography

Is it me?

I like to follow Wedding blogs, there are some great ones. And as I am getting married myself next year my Fiance Natasha and I like to share and look at ideas together. There are some useful, some wacky. From a photographers point of view I find it insightful. Whilst looking at one well known blog yesterday I browsed some submitted photos of a featured wedding, photos I might have taken in my first year as a photographer, but that would never have seen the light of day…they would have been left on the darkroom floor (I am that old). Over half of them were out of focus, some had the wrong focus points, some had nothing at all in focus. Am I missing something here. Has professional photography become so easy and mainstream that we now have to do things “wrong” to get noticed? Call me old fashioned but getting pics in focus, with no camera shake, and with heads not cut off is a prerequisite to a good photo, and once having achieved that then eye catching composition, capturing beautiful light. getting exposure right, preempting expression and the decisive moment then make a good photographer….maybe I should retire now…..www.evolvephoto.co.uk

Welcome to the Evolve Blog

So this is the home of my new blog. So whats it all about?

I have been in the Wedding industry for 21 years now as a wedding photographer, currently owning and running Evolve Photography in Devon. I have photographed over 1200 Weddings now from the beautiful Peak District down to stunning St Ives. I have worked with many suppliers and at many venues and have seen a lot of behind the scenes stuff! I have also learned a lot about all aspects of Weddings along the way. As many of my lovely couples will no doubt bare testimony to I have helped and advised on many aspects of their big day aside from the photography. Many a Bride has walked down the aisle with flowers that she nearly left at home, many a best man has had his cuff label cut from his suit! I love my job, I love weddings. The change in trends, even the change in seasons.

So here, enough rubbish from me. On this blog I aim to give an insiders view. Post my favourite venues, florists, cake makers etc etc and ask them to guest blog from time to time….I hope you enjoy, or find something useful in the following weeks and months.

Thanks for reading thus far, hope to capture some of you for regular postings.

Mark