Rangefinder Magazine: 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography 2014

I have been waiting (what feels like) FOREVER for today. Back in July I received an email to tell me that I had been nominated for Rangefinder Magazine's annual '30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography'. I still get butterflies when I think about it.  I read and re-read the email a few times and then just sat staring at it.

WHAT??

This is a really prestigious, worldwide (gulp) industry 'award' for want of a better word.  Rangefinder describes it as "the best emerging talent in the industry today, nominated by industry insiders (blog and magazine editors, veteran photographers, vendor sponsors and RF editors) and judged by the Rangefinder editorial staff".

Photographers cannot nominate themselves. And I had no idea who had nominated me but I wanted to kiss them.

Some of the photographers who have graced this list in previous years are people I admire HUGELY... Fer Juaristi, Nordica, Nirav Patel, Emma Case, Logan Cole, Andria Lindquist, Marianne Taylor, Sean Flanigan (who I get to meet in Italy on a workshop in just a few weeks), Ed Peers and last but by no means least, the amazing Sassy from Assassynation.  I have pored over the list for the last couple of years, ogling the work of these inspirational photographers from all over the world... to think I could be on it too was crazy and very humbling.

After many hours, hundreds of photographs and a lot of swapping and changing I sent off my requested 30 images and tried not to think about it (I failed).

Rangefinder Magazine 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography_0002

Fast forward a month... email arrives....'We've Chosen!'.  A MILLION things went through my head - many of them expletives.  I wasn't expecting to hear until November... "Congratulations Claire! We at Rangefinder have chosen you as one of the 30 Rising Stars of 2014!'

WHAT??????

I don't think I squealed, I didn't even cry (unusual for me)... I was just floored and sat there in disbelief.  I told my husband, Dad and a few very close friends but I wasn't allowed to announce anything publicly until today and it's been killing me!

So yeah... I am on THAT list.  One of 30 Rising Stars... in the WORLD.  My mind is officially blown.  All because I got back off my honeymoon with a renewed love for photography and decided to sell my wedding dress to fund my first 'proper' camera.

A BIG shout out to my amazing couples...past, present and future. Whether you're featured above/in the magazine or not, it's you who make what I do possible and so much more than just a job.  Thank you.

I'm also thankful to Blair de Laubenfels, co-founder of JunebugWeddings.com, who nominated me (I later found out) and to the judges who chose my work from the 150 nominated.   And to Andrea, Kate, Ade, Maria, Anna and Nicola for helping me to choose which images to submit. Without you I would still be deciding!

Seriously proud to be joined on the list by the very talented Alan, Andy and Hannah.  To think Hannah and I had a mutual commiseration party all planned out involving Facebook chat and lots of gin. ;-)   I'm so excited to see who else is on there with us.

UPDATED:  You can view the full gallery here: http://rangefinder.shootproof.com/event/890104/view

Venezia... 'If I could lose myself here'

“It was the air she wanted and the world she would now exclusively choose; the quiet chambers, nobly overwhelming, rich but slightly veiled, opened out round her and made her presently say 'If I could lose myself here!'...” ~ Henry James, The Wings of the Dove

The film adaptation of this book was the start of my love affair with this incredible city.  Hook line and sinker.  When I arrived there on my honeymoon 5 years ago I was worried that I had built it up so much in my own imagination that it could never live up to that.   But I didn't know then what I know now.   It's the stuff of dreams.

So when I got the opportunity to go back with 30 other female photographers, I had to make it happen somehow.   I wanted to wander the streets and canal sides, drink coffee with the girls, talk photography, people watch, soak it all up (quite literally as it happened!) and photograph Venice again, through more experienced eyes photographically speaking.  : )

Highlights of the trip...there are many.  Drinks and excited chatter at Manchester Airport; meeting all the girls for the first time as we all gathered around a little bridge that was to become our regular meeting point; sitting eating pizza in a few inches of canal water on our first night; morning cappucino dopia in the beautiful little Cafe Dei Frari before heading off out for the day; our wonderful meal with all the girls together; the kind shopkeeper who gifted us a bottle of wine because the shop had just closed and we obviously looked desperate (!); wading through San Marco in my boots and jeans and not giving a stuff; drinking so-thick-you-could-stand-a-spoon-in-it hot chocolate outside Cafe Florian with wet feet and good friends; taking lots of Polaroids and excitedly checking their development at every opportunity; the water taxi ride back to the airport (and the look on poor terrified Andrea's face as it bounced along on the waves) and just, well.... being in Venice.

It was an utter joy to share the trip with these talented women.  Some already firm friends, others who I'd never met 'in real life' but had chatted with online and who will undoubtedly become firm friends!  Women from Austria, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark and the UK.  Incredible.  Thank you girls. xxxxxx