35 Photographs That Showcase The Reflections Of Captivating Wedding Scenes, By Peter Adams-Shawn Interview With Artist
There are some wedding photographers who go beyond the standards of conventional imagery, creating enchanting stories with their cameras. One such extraordinary artist is Peter Adams-Shawn, the mastermind behind Memories of Tomorrow Photography. With a career spanning over 15 years, the photographer has established himself as a visionary storyteller, using the power of pictures to capture the essence of love, emotion, and celebration.
Peter has not only photographed over 270 weddings throughout the Bunbury and South West regions of Western Australia but has also created a niche for himself with his groundbreaking series, "Eyescapes" and "Ringscapes." Both of them invite us into a world where wedding scenes are shown through the use of reflections. Adams-Shawn skillfully captures the beauty and essence of love by showcasing intimate moments reflected in various surfaces. In "Eyescapes," we admire the connection between couples as their emotions are mirrored in the eyes of their beloved. Meanwhile, "Ringscapes" unveils the magic held within wedding rings with the reflection of the couple and their surroundings.
Bored Panda reached out to Peter Adams-Shawn to find out about his photo series: “Eyescapes” and “Ringscapes” as well as his background and other projects he works on. First, we wanted to know more about his journey into photography and how he developed his unique style. Peter told us: “I married my first wife in Tuscany, Italy. On the pre-wedding planning trip, we chose the photographer, Edoardo Agresti. It was seeing his work, particularly one image of a wedding couple reflected in a puddle on a cobbled street in Siena that really sparked my interest. Reflections became a background thing as my snapping slowly turned into photography."
Mum And Dad
"It just so happened that around that time Canon released its first consumer-aimed digital SLR, the EOS 300D. Photography had just become a lot more affordable at an entry-level. I bought one shortly after arriving back in England and made the determination then that I wanted to become a photographer. I had no idea how that would happen, nor what I was doing with the camera. But I was dead set it was something I would do. The timing of this model being released played a massive part in me eventually becoming a photographer.”
A Proud Son
I Bet You've Never Seen A Group Photo At A Wedding Like This Before
The photographer continued: “I started out as many others have done. Taking absolutely terrible photos (as I look back now), but being told by family and friends that they were great (they weren’t). Any photographer starting out should filter out what family and friends say as being meaningless really as they’ll rarely give you a truly honest appraisal. It’s a bit like newborn babies really. Everyone will say they look beautiful, cute, etc. They are predisposed to do so because of their relationship to you, etc.”
Save The Date
Next, we wanted to learn how Adams-Shawn views photography as a means of storytelling. We were wondering how this perspective influences Peter’s approach to capturing weddings. He said: “Photography for me is about moments… memories. Unlike film, you only have one frame to tell a story or convey meaning, etc. With wedding photography, the subtle differences in facial expressions and body language all matter. Imagine, for example, having sweets (lollies in Australia, candy in the US) where they are both sweet and sour. Part of the experience you get is that sweet hit before the sour kicks in and contorts your face. Smiles, laughs, etc. can all be like that. Depending on when you take the shot can tell a very different story. Weddings are more than just a couple tying the knot…”
Blow Me A Kiss
“Often, strangers who would never normally have crossed paths meet. Interactions with others from different walks of life, backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures take place constantly. Some were free-flowing and welcoming, others a little awkward and stunted. At a wedding, people (sometimes without realizing it) end up saying the last goodbye to a family member or friend. It might be the last time an elderly relative is seen by some who live on distant shores. I dare say it but some of these interactions hold an even greater emotion than between the wedding couple themselves. Newlyweds are there with the idea that they have the rest of their lives to spend together. Seeing someone you may never see again holds a different level of intensity."
The First Supper
"Ultimately weddings are a melting pot when it comes to storytelling. With so many stories coming together in one place, it’s up to you with the camera to decide which to tell. Often choosing the images that will inspire positive emotions in all those who view the pictures.”
We can read on Peter’s website that he has a distinctive method when it comes to shooting, often going to great lengths to capture the perfect shot. We asked if he could share some memorable experiences or challenges he has faced while pursuing these extraordinary images. The photographer told us: “I pretty much just make many of the creative shots up as I go along. Some are obviously planned based on what the light may be doing at the time (e.g. direction of a sunset, the time of moonrise, etc.). But others, I see something, I try it. The couples who hire me know I like to experiment and I make no promises other than what I see is what you get."
Cheeky Selfie With The Bride And Groom
"The nature of my work is often very varied. From incorporating landscape and architecture to just doing something fun and completely unplanned. Other times, ideas from a previous wedding evolve over time.” Here, Peter mentioned a couple of his photo examples involving nature as a part of the photograph’s composition: “Peeking through the leaves, making a shot using the sunset and trees” and also “placing a couple in a scene with a well-known landmark.”
“Reflection shots evolve from one wedding to the next. Here, you can see how I increase the level of complexity: "This shot had its origins at another wedding.” Peter also gave some examples from his “Ringscapes” series where a single reflection leads to a double reflection, and then to a triple one. Also, some portraits were later transformed into group photographs. Next, the photographer gave us an example of how “the cliché bride's veil blowing in the wind shot leads to the groom (well, his shadow) being in the shot as well as his eye.” Lastly, he made a reference to “the environmental landscapes at a wedding combined with an eyescape” (here and here).
I Will Always Watch Over You
The series "Eyescapes" and "Ringscapes" have gained international recognition. We were wondering if Peter could explain the inspiration behind these concepts and the impact they have had on his photography career. He shared with us: “I touched on the inspiration for the reflection shots above. It’s easy to get a reflection. The challenge is in telling a story with that reflection. Standing still is boring, I like to push the boundaries of what I am capable of. I’m not really sure it has impacted my photography career that massively, to be honest. I suppose it does offer prospective clients a view into how my mind can wander creatively and that there will always be an element of the unexpected in what I capture/create.”
A Father's Pride
Adams-Shawn has photographed over 270 weddings. Having this much experience, we wanted to know if there are any particular moments or stories that have stood out to Peter as the most memorable or impactful in his career. The photographer revealed: “I have so many stories, so many memories, every single one shaping me as a photographer along the way. I’d say they have mostly taught me to expect the unexpected at weddings. Everything that can happen will happen eventually if you shoot enough of them.”
The photographer continued: “The shot which showed me that pretty much anything was possible was this one. A pure documentary capture of a two-year-old boy watching his parents exchange their vows. Getting the reflection was a spur-of-the-moment opportunity. I took three shots and nailed it with two of them (this and this). For me, the awe and wonder are priceless."
"My most memorable shot was actually one when I was not officially working. It was at my own wedding. A shot I took of my wife on a footbridge at sunset. A shot which I had planned over a year in advance.”
In Your Arms
Just Hanging Around
Lastly, we asked if there is any advice Peter would like to give to other aspiring wedding photographers who are looking to develop their own unique style and make a mark in the industry. Adams-Shawn answered: “It is a cutthroat industry in that it is incredibly hard to make a full-time living from it these days. Most will not manage it. The technology in photography has advanced so much over the last decade, it is so much easier than when I first started. Bear that in mind when you start out and if things don’t go to plan, just remember that the environment in which you are starting out is the toughest it ever has been. Talent does not always equate to monetary compensation, learn to be okay with that."
Mother And Daughter
"With regards to making it at weddings in particular… if you can have guests, etc. telling you that you are a great photographer before they have even seen one photograph, you are on the right path. You are there to capture relationships, and the relationship that you develop with those you are capturing is just as important as the relationships you are capturing.”
Peter also told us that he does not exclusively capture weddings but he also works as an aerial photographer. He told us: " I stepped back from weddings for a period. I had been doing some rather unique drone photography. This was going really well until the pandemic hit and limited my shooting options. More recently, post-Covid times I had been stepping back into weddings, however last June I had surgery to remove a tumor from my neck. The invasive procedure affected the nerves in my face, and I’ve been slowly working my way back into photography."