The Invite (you have missed it if you are reading this after 24 August 2019)
We request the pleasure of your company at a reception to celebrate the not-a-wedding of
whoever turns up
Saturday, 24 August 2019 at 3pm
at the Photo Space, 1 Quality Square, Ludlow SY8 1AR
No boxed gifts, loose notes will do.
Nibbles, refreshments, alcohol followed by partying and rivalries.
Free NHS care
Hyacinth, do we have to invite this lot?
Dad, I know they are a bore but we have to invite them, just to the reception though. With any luck you won't have to talk to them.
Dad, you weren’t supposed to leave these notes on the invites!!
( text and images by Ian )
Ian was born in the north of England but didn’t hang around for very long. With a previous job list including: Milkman, Salesman, Soldier and HGV Driver he was always on the move. Photography came to him later in life, at the age of 30, and he started to photograph weddings to make money so he could pursue other photography projects. Turns out, weddings actually became his project.
Disgruntled with the industry’s arbitrary rules and traditions, Ian saw a need for a more documentary approach to weddings. He began to make a body of work surrounding an industry and culture that he saw as antiquated, photographing the reality in his own irreverent and humorous way.
This is how he sees weddings. Ian is not a wedding photographer.
The genre of wedding photography is often highly staged and associated with cliché, resulting in what can be a formulaic document of an occasion which is always unique and abound with emotion. Ian’s unorthodox methods cut through the fantasy, fairy-tale and composure, and capture the real character of each wedding day, with humour, warmth and affection.
“I’ve tried, I really have, but there’s no easy way to tell you that I’m not a Wedding Photographer. I mean, as much as I’d love to stand around for hours lining people up, ordering them around and taking photographs of every combination of family member & guest, I’ve more important things to be doing. And quite frankly, so have you.”
Ian describes his approach as a photographic democracy where one photograph is no more important than any other – where all things are equal and people the same as objects.
Rather than arranging family shots, climbing on a step ladder and following a list of desired shots, he will be found capturing what the couple and most others will have missed. The uncensored domestic backdrop of the preparations with the cans of beer and last minute ironing, expensive flowers transported in cardboard boxes, the inclement English weather, smokers out the back, split trousers, the desperate grasp for the canape, the waiting, forced smiles and the dad dancing.
Ian’s work came to the attention of Martin Parr after he gave a lecture on his work in Barcelona and the attendees of the lecture happened to be wedding photographers. Whilst there, Martin was asked if he knew the work of Ian Weldon, made note of his name and later looked up his portfolio. The next time Martin was in Newcastle, he arranged to meet with Ian and the conversation turned to how, in-spite of approaching galleries and magazines, Ian’s work was not taken seriously, being just wedding photography. However, Martin and Rudi Thoemmes, the publisher of RRB Photobooks saw the value in Ian’s photography – as the most real wedding photographer – and offered him an exhibition and book of his work.
“Here is a photographer who shoots weddings as they really are: comical family occasions, with too much drink and wild things happening. You may think well of course he would, but if you look at the award-winning wedding photographers they nearly all pander to normal schmaltz that is so dominant in the industry. We believe this is the first time a ‘wedding photographer’ has been exhibited in a ‘proper gallery”. Martin Parr
In partnership with the Martin Parr Foundation, the Photo Space is delighted to welcome Ian Weldon to Ludlow, Shropshire, with an exhibition of his work “I Am Not A Wedding Photographer”.
This work was exhibited for the first time at the Martin Parr Foundation in summer 2019, to coincide with a new book co-published by RRB PhotoBooks and the Martin Parr Foundation,
copies of which are available to buy at the Photo Space.
The exhibition runs from Saturday 24 August 2019 and continues (except for the cake) until 12 October 2019.