On Tuesday, I got a call from the legend that is Adam Johnson, Internationally renowned wedding photographer and founder member of NineDots. “I have some news for you” Adam said. I wasn’t sure what the news might be, but with the lockdown around Covid-19 which has had an enormous imapct upon my business, I have become accustomed to bad news, so assumed the worse…
“You are NineDots Wedding Photographer of the Year 2020 – Congratulations!”
Wow, what incredible news, and I found it hard to put in to words how I felt. A sit down, and a glass of wine (or three!) was definitiely required!
This means so much to me on so many levels. Winning an award is always a magical and exhilarating experience, but this is significant, not just because of the gravity of being overall winner, but also what it means to my business right now. I haven’t been able to shoot a wedding for months, and I don’t know when the next one will be. At this time, it is all about survival, and hoping one day soon we will be able to photograph again. It feels as though I have forgotten who I am, and what I do, and everything I have worked so hard for over the last decade. This award could not have come at a better time, to remind me what I do, why I love it so much, to make me feel more confident of where I am in the industry, and to fuel the fire to keep me going.
Being named wedding photographer of the year is also a huge honour based upon the truly outstanding collective of brilliant photographers that NineDots is, many of whom have been my heroes, and inspiration over the years. Looking at all of the winning images from other photographers, there are so many others that inspire me, and have taken my breath away. Photographers are always self critical and are often guilty of judging ourselves against others, and this gives me the confidence to think I am up there amongst them too. NineDots is peer driven, and the awards are based on monthly competitions through the previous years. Winning one award (as I was lucky to achieve in 2019) is not easy, the standards are seriously high, as they should be to encourage everyone to create the best work they possibly can. The awards are then judged by the most legendary and inspirational photographers in the world, this year including Victor Lax, Liam Crawley, Isabelle Hattink, Fer Juaristi, and Two-Mann Studios. To have my work judged by such masters is a true honour.
This competition also forced me to re-evaluate how I look at my work through the year, in a very positive way. After the first 3 rounds, I had won no awards, and I could have viewed this in two ways – either my work isn’t good enough (in which case why keep working?), or I wasn’t trying hard enough, and my images weren’t hitting the mark, and if not, then why? I looked at every winning image, and explored what I loved about it, marvelled at how it had been crafted, and analysed what in my mind made it successful. After listening to several amazing speakers at the 2019 NineDots Gathering in London, I realised that I was attached to a particular photograph of my own because I loved it, rather than looking at it through the eyes of others. I would ask mentors for critique, and the response to my favourite images was to spot the imperfections which were obvious to them, but I couldn’t see, as I was focusing on a different view- my emotional attachment meant I was blinkered to ways I could have made the image better. Meanwhile other images of mine that weren’t my favourites would be greeted with excitement, and I had to ask what in particular they connected with, to gain much more of an insight in to what other people see.
And the truth is, that everyone sees different things in an image. It is the responsibility of the photographer to ensure that the moment, the light, the composition all work together so that the viewer sees exactly what the photographer saw, and the story the photographer wanted to tell. This is it, in a nutshell.
I really cannot wait to get back behind the camera, celebrating the most magical day between two amazing people, and capturing those memories for eternity. Let’s do this!
Thank you so much to Adam Johnson, Andy Gaines and Rahul Khona for establishing and curating the amazing community that is NineDots. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how more then ever a supportive community is the only way to get through these things, and the support has been second to none. Thank you so much.
Here is the write up from the awesome guys at Ninedots themselves!
Ninedots is an incredible learning community of photographers from all around the world designed to help all wedding photographers take their craft to the next level, through peer support, training, workshops, and the legendary annual gathering, a true meeting of minds. www.nine-dots.co
Robin Goodlad Photography – NineDots Wedding Photographer Of The Year 2020