I had a rare chance to shoot in the Hertfordshire hills I grew up in this Autumn, and I jumped at it. This week we take a walk with Toby and Aby, for a catch up on their wedding next year and a little time with my camera.
I am a very lucky lady, with opportunities to shoot all over the country and the globe. I adore travel and I love the constant need to get my eye into new places and cultures. But every now and then, it really is grounding to go back to my hometown and shoot there. In the far background of these shots, you'll see the pretty little spire that is St. Mary's in Baldock.
I didn't have a huge amount of affection for the place. Aside from it's closeness to London on the train, it didn't really seem to offer me much growing up. How wrong I was.. So many of my memories were actually in the stunning countryside surrounding it. The gently rolling hills, the gorgeous little villages nearby, the wildlife and peace.
The distant roads and fields in these photos, have been the backdrop to many a bike ride or walk growing up. I jumped at the opportunity to shoot a couple session in these views. Toby and Aby, who are local and also grew up in the town, were perfectly at home staring out at this lush green country-side. It doesnt matter how far we travel, sometimes coming back to our roots moves us the most.
QUICK NEARLY-WED Q & A:
DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME YOU SAW EACH OTHER?
A: Toby and I actually went to nursery school together, we have photos of us together from then, but neither of our memories go that far back. We first got to know each other in secondary school, where we shared classes together and both having surnames starting with ‘H’ were often sat near to each other. We were in the same friendship group for the whole of secondary school so we’ve been friends since we were teenagers.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU WANTED TO MARRY THEM?
A: I think for me it wasn’t necessarily knowing that I wanted to marry Toby, but that I knew I wanted to be with him forever and that was just something very organic. We’d been friends for so long, had lived together both as friends and then as a couple, we’d built our lives and home together and it just worked.
T: I knew Aby was committed to our relationship when she moved back to the UK. That was a big sign for me, having previously had a long-distance relationship while she worked abroad. Although, I left it a few years to pop the question. She gets on so well with my family, which is really important to me, and knowing each other for so long meant we have a big crossover in our circle of friends which made it so easy. As a linguist, she makes for an excellent travelling companion, which comes in handy when I want to order a beer in a foreign land too!
HOW DID THEY PROPOSE? HOW DID YOU REACT?
A: Toby and I go away every February for a weekend and we were away in Ireland at the time. We were trying to decide what to do one afternoon, having been for a long walk in the morning, and Toby found a nice coastal drive along the Wild Atlantic coast. We had been driving for a while and it was almost time for us to make our way back to our hotel when Toby saw signs for a beach and said we should go, so we drove to the beach and went for a walk. We took some photos then on the walk back Toby got down on one knee and proposed. I immediately said yes (through shivers, it was bitterly cold)
T: Aby paints a very romantic picture of the series of events leading up to popping the big question, so I clearly did something right. However traditional Irish weather, short winter days and wandering flocks of sheep did their best to put me off my stride. I was keen to find a memorable spot, somewhere we could hopefully visit again in the future, and the remote beaches along the Wild Atlantic Way provided the perfect setting. I took my DSLR, hoping I could get a passer-by to take a nicely composed photo of us after I had asked ‘the question’ but in the end had to perch the camera on a rock and made the most of the self-timer function. The photo still made our Save the Date cards though.
WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES YOU WORK SO WELL AS A COUPLE?
A: We’ve known each other a long time and were best friends before we were a couple- I could always turn to Toby for support. Because we grew up together we have the same background and principles and we share a similar sense of humour. When we first started dating there was none of that starting awkwardness because we already knew each other so well and we also already knew each other’s strengths and flaws. We have similar interests and goals, whilst being different in many ways, so we complement each other well.
T: Our shared love of so many different things – be it food, travel, or Dad jokes – keeps us close. We’ve got a similar grounding and principals, and I think we bring out the best in each other. We’re both warm-blooded too so there is no arguing over which tog duvet to put on the bed and she’ll happily eat the strawberry delights / orange crèmes from the Quality Street tin – tackling the real issues right there.
Thanks so much to Toby and Aby, for braving the freezeing cold in these photos! Your wedding is going to be such a lovely one, I cannot wait.