Six hundred and twenty one days. That's how many days it was between my last wedding shoot of 2019 and my first wedding of 2021. For comparison, Blackbeard's reign of terror lasted roughly 456 days, the first version of the Magna Carta was only in force for 365 days, and Kim Kardashians marriage to Kris Humphries lasted for just 72 days.
I'm sure that's the first time in history those three events have been compared together.
In between forgetting how to say no to extra snacks, convincing myself that I'll definitely use my new bike every day (I've used it ten times at most), and seeing much more of Boris Johnson on my TV than I'd have ever wished to, it's been a rather roller coaster twenty months. A period of uncertainty, loss, gain, optimism, pessimism, loneliness and helplessness. But, with everything now looking like it's on the up, we're finally back in the swing of things! Weddings are back underway, restrictions have been lifted for the most part, and I don't have some daft blonde git stumbling over his words on my TV.
This brings us to the 20th of June 2021, the day I dusted off my camera bag and headed out to photograph the wedding of Kate and Hannah. It was a truly beautiful day, and one that was filled with a variety of emotions for everyone involved. From family members that hadn't seen each other for over a year, to suppliers that were over the moon to finally get back to doing what they love, me included. Seeing so many people enjoying life without a care in the world filled me with a feeling I didn't expect, nostalgia. Everything felt like it had before, normality seemed to be back.
Whilst I'm not going to go into the details of the wedding in this post, I will say that the day was one filled with both anxiety and excitement for myself. Being around so many people after so long felt very alien to me, but as the day progressed those feelings began to mellow out and the inner photographer took over.
Since then, my weekends have been filled with photographing weddings and editing pictures, something that I don't think I'll ever complain about again. I've met so many wonderful couples in such a short amount of time, and they've been so incredibly kind and welcoming to photograph. I've organised and reorganised memory boxes, designed wedding albums that relive the story of each wedding day, and become my local florists favourite customer.
I'm incredibly grateful for my patient wife, Stacey, for whom the weekends now mean making sure I haven't forgotten to charge my batteries, packed my memory cards and making sure my shirt is ironed and ready. Without her I would not have gotten through everything going on these last twenty months. With such a long period of feeling stagnant and like life wasn't moving forwards, I can happily say that I'm starting to feel optimistic for the future again.
The fire inside me is finally burning once again, and this time it's not just a few embers, it's a raging inferno.