About Jay Rowden

Ever since I was given my first camera, I had an eye for seeing things differently. I can vividly remember that first camera too. It was a funny looking Kodak Ektralite 110 with a folding case that doubled as a handle. Most of the photographs were either wonky or out of focus but nevertheless I loved that camera. In time, like most teenage boys my attention span waned and the camera soon lost favour to be quickly replaced by a Raleigh five speed racer, soul music and pretty girls. Then came a career in television.

 

There's no doubt that fifteen years creating TV ads helped to shape me creatively. It also gave me the confidence to tell great stories.Yet in spite of all the flashy awards I'd won over the years, I felt strangely hollow and unfulfilled. A chance meeting with David Bailey changed everything and completely re-ignited my love for taking photos and I immediately signed up to study photography at Central St Martins in London.

This is a college with great pedigree and a serious reputation for training photography students from the ground up. They teach all aspects of composition, how to shoot on film, to develop your own negatives, dark room printing, as well as learning how to use both artificial and available light. My photographic style was borne out of this classical training.

 

Once I'd finished at Central St Martins, I resigned from my high paying job and kissed goodbye to my 13th floor office with breathtaking views across the Thames to become a wedding photographer. Everybody thought I was crazy, though I knew exactly what I was doing. Instead of creating fictional stories I would now capture real life stories. Simple as that.

 

The beauty of it all, the drama, the characters, the detail. The traditions which bind each wedding together so uniquely. That's why I love photographing weddings so much, because every wedding is so very different. They may appear to be the same, but there is always difference. There's always a timetable of events and you kind of know what's going to happen when. And yet the day is always filled with surprises.

 

People often ask me how I would describe my style. I tell them it's photojournalism with a nod towards fine art and fashion photography. Not that I am one of these photographers who runs round all day telling everyone how to stand, what to do, where to look or how to behave. I leave the storytelling to you and your guests. Nor do I lug around loads of big lighting equipment and brollies, setting up identical shots that I've done a hundred times before. That is dull. My responsibility as I see it, is to capture the day as objectively as possible. It is such a great privilege to be there and the last thing I want to do is to be out the front, barking orders.

 

I'm discreet and people very quickly feel relaxed in my company. I seamlessly blend in as if I am one of the guests. I just sit on the sidelines, watching the beautiful drama unfold. You won't catch me telling the Groomsmen to pick up the Groom, or see me tell the father of the Bride to give his daughter a hug because it will make a nice shot. The father of the Bride will probably to give her a big hug anyway and I will be there to capture the moment as it happens. And once the the day has ended and the confetti has been swept away, all that you are left with are a hazy collection of memories and a dazzling array of photographs from a guy who had an eye for seeing things differently.

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