I have photographed weddings all over the world, in incredibly exotic places and in dramatic circumstances; flown thousands of miles with all of my kit, and a team around me.. but never have I been able to walk out my front door, alone, and already be on location.
I grew up in the old market (and somewhat sleepy) town of Baldock; my earliest memories are of living here, and I returned here after 10 years or so of living in relentless London. I was strangely excited to hear that I had a wedding booked here.
There was a bizarre inversion of the 'exotic'; to re-approach something so familiar and so second nature, and see it with fresh eyes, felt pretty alien.
I know every back alley, every building corner and old beamed archway like the freckles on the back of my hand; I could literally walk the entire running order of the wedding in my head without ever setting foot outside my house, and see everything in high-res memory. Or could I? It occurred to me that these were places I knew well, but didn't necessarily ever look at; the buildings and doorways, colours and angles were all etched into a pretty non-explorative part of my mind; I certainly hadn't needed to question or confirm them in decades.
In light of this, I tucked my big camera into a backpack, and set off on my bike. In the searing heat and unforgiving sunshine, I retraced the steps I had already pictured in my mind. Everywhere, jumping out at me with loud and exciting details, were picture perfect moments lined up all the way down the long stretch of Baldock's high street. And they were thick with character and honest (all-be-it sometimes neglected) period features.
I couldn't believe it. I ended up spending two hours cycling back through all my memories, letting my front wheel course it's way between the familiar and the freshly seen.
Pushed up between the memories of walking across particular fields as a kid, were realisations of their breathtaking beauty; watching the ground rush past under my peddling feet, was the familiar sight of butterflies hurriedly fluttering away, and the gentle hum of bees moving from poppy to wild daisy. But from here, I looked up, and noticed the stunning expanse of the field itself, the tones of the young crop not yet knee height, and the Chiltern Hills melting away in the distance.
To be honest, much of this Recce was an experience in my mind and memory, which I didn't entirely get in my camera. Here, I have shared a few moments I plan to come back to at Jenny and Titi's wedding this week. But there are so many more beautiful things we plan to shoot.. I hope to do this beautiful little town, which I call home, justice.
Report back to The Wardette Studio Blog on Sunday for some sneak peeks of the wedding itself.. That is, if I don't find myself heading off-road on the bike again, down the gently trodden path we call memory lane.