Lina Orsino-Allen: Top 10 Fearless Awards
Fun & Playful Wedding Photography is all about looking out for the joyous, the outrageous and the delightful aspects of the wedding day. It shows that weddings can be silly and quirky and provide evidence that a very good time was had by all. This style of wedding photography is readymade for life-of-the-party couples who want a laughter-filled candid record of their crazy festivities. Guest curator Lina Orsino-Allen shares her thoughts about her top choices from curating 245 entries in the FUN & PLAYFUL category of Collection 44. Lina is professional wedding photographer who works with her husband Tom in Cambridgeshire, UK. Lina was a speaker at the annual Fearless Conference in 2018 in Split, Croatia.
It's been a real pleasure to judge this category; fun and playful weddings are what we live for and I feel a great fun and playful wedding photo would put me right at the heart of the moment. I was looking for images that made me feel how much fun the protagonists were having, make me want to look more and above all make me want to be there. From the photographer's point of view I was looking for spotting a great moment, looking for a different take on a standard image and editing it to its fullest potential.
I love a confetti shot, yet this is so different and made me laugh out loud. The photographer kept low to allow the spill to flow over them and fill the right side of the frame, giving you a sense of just how much confetti was poured. By keeping the focus point on the bottle of beer rather than the bride, she literally has no head anymore. I hope they shot through the moment as I would love to see the reaction afterwards - this left me wanting more of this couple's story.
If it wasn't the middle of wedding season right now, I would count just how many shots of grooms being thrown in the air that were included. It's just not enough to capture it, I was looking for an alternative angle or viewpoint to make it feel fresh. With this shot, the groom being so straight was definitely different and complimented the many straight lines already in the photo. We also have a number of triangles created. At the top of the frame, we have the infinity symbol, in which I found myself thinking that this groom was actually being beamed up into the infinity of space, almost like a deity with his followers praising him below...
This shot can only be described as the perfect WTF moment which is why I instantly loved it. Shooting weddings, we have an amazing insight into other people's lives and we get paid to people watch. Here, we have documentary at its best. The main players are not laughing out loud at the absurdity of this moment, everyone is trying to act normal. By placing themselves behind the performers we get an insight into the awkwardness of it all. The dancer's legs give a fantastic V shape to assist in leading our eye to the expressions of the main players, and by the guy's cowboy hat you'd be forgiven for thinking this was a wild west theme bar in Vegas. But it's a wedding in what seems to be a fairly upmarket venue, and we have a very elegant beautiful bride. She's clasping her hands as if to politely clap, the Groom is looking away as if to not show how weird this situation is, but the best reaction is the woman covering the guy's eyes as if it all perfectly normal, nothing to see here. The photographer is also in the right position to gain another reaction below the foot, again of nonchalance, he isn't even out of his seat. Yes the extra guest foot by the bride isn't ideal, and there are some bright spots that could have been cloned out by the chair, but the moment trumps having it in all in. It's all so absurd it's wonderful.
Fun ✓ Playful ✓ I want to be there ✓ This award was instant for me. The photographer has shot this from exactly the right place, the composition of the Groom on the third is perfect, and I love the sharp spike of the Bride's heel towards the centre of the frame amongst many circles in this image. The fact that the male is bald and the balls in the foreground could almost be lots of bald heads just makes this perfection. I was so pleased they kept it colour too.
In a category of fun, this image is pure joy. I can feel the elation of the couple. Usually I do not want to see a confetti shot in black and white, but this looks like rice which allows a great contrast with the background. There is als a lovely mix of sharpness when it comes to the rice, and the rice bokeh is beautiful. There is also a mimicry of the shape of grooms head in rice above him, which all adds to pleasure this shot gives.
One of the key aspects of an image to catch my eye was the execution of timing. A number of shots submitted were a masterstroke of clicking at exactly the right time. This shot has that and more. The couple and the dog are on multiple thirds, the timing of the dog on the water almost looks like he is hovering, but what I really love is the energy of the dog which has been captured perfectly. The couple are clearly in love and if it was their dog, I like to think it loves them so much too they're eager to get in there. If I was the bride here, this would be the image I have huge on my wall over any of the standard wedding day shots.
Like the shot above, animals featured heavily in this collection's submissions. For me, it wasn't enough to have a funny looking animal in the shot and it definitely was not ok to have an animal in the shot where it may have been stressed or under duress. We love incorporating a couple's pets into a shoot, and what caught my eye of this one over the others was the mimicry of joy between our groom and the dog. This would have been a split second moment which was captured. The dog's paw on this hand is also a huge part of this story, the shapes are mimicking each other but it says that they are buddies. Your eye is instantly draw to the relationship between these two, the bride is almost having to bring her head in to compete. The bemusement on the other dog's face just finishes off a great scene.
This portrait could easily have never happened if it wasn't for the obvious relationship between the photographer and his client. I know I would frustrated if a bride is always worrying about her hair, or wants to cut portraits short as the wind has picked up or it's starting to rain. This couple completely trusted the photographer's vision of elevating a standard portrait by using the wind. This is an image that would struggle to be recreated: the shape of the hair created by the wind is perfect, the fact that both faces are exposed and hair isn't in front of their face and their expression is calm and placid. The fact that they both have long brown hair is another reason this works so well and culminates in a unique portrait.
Another ever-present feature of submissions were cultural activities such as the turmeric ceremony and washing. I found myself disregarding images that were too far away and were black and white, as these ceremonies are so full of colour. Yet with this image, the subject really fills the frame, drawing us in, and her wide, open mouth is central - we can almost hear the scream of the cold water. Despite the eyes being closed, the hands make a wonderful bowl shape almost ready to catch the water. I also loved the way the water drops look like crystals as they bounce off the hands. This image draws you in to the moment. I would have burned the right side of the image to balance the tones better but in essence it was great the photographer got right in there.
I wanted to include an image in this selection that didn't quite make it in the collaborative judging process, but did stand out for me. Group shots can be a bore at a wedding, and if they are too formal yet you have a fun couple, it can be a discord in representing the day. The decision to flip this image gives the focus to all these pairs of 'eyes' and even through showing only their hands I can instantly imagine what kind of wedding this was, a fun group of friends having a great time together. A particular draw is the connection between the hands top right on the third, it adds a little something I can't quite put my finger on but I know I love it. I am also so glad the photographer chose to keep this high colour so we can feel the warmth and depth of that bright blue sky. Whilst I understand the high concentration of black and white images in something like the Real Moments collection, sometimes you just need to strip out the distraction of colour, for me in this category the decision by the photographer to keep something colour was so important, as I wanted fun moments at weddings presented in all their vibrancy - but of course some of the award winners were still powerderful in black and white - but I needed to understand the reason. All in all it was wonderful to see so many vibrant and less formal moments captured at weddings, as we all collectively push the boundaries of wedding storytelling - keep striving to be FEARLESS!
See comments from other curators: Marieke Zwartscholten: Top 10 (Real Moments) Christina Craft: Top 10 (Art & Beauty) Vinci Wang: Top 10 (Art & Beauty)