Oh em gee. I know, I know, by now you’ve probably already heard via Facebook or Twitter that I only went and won the national award for Best Wedding Photographer at The 2012 Wedding Industry Awards event last night. I don’t mean to be regurgitating yesterdays news over and over, but I did think a blog post was in order, just so I can have a lasting memory of what I’m feeling right now. Twitter and FB are pretty fleeting mediums after all.
If you know me, or anything much about me, you’ll probably know how out of place I feel at big fancy events. You might think that’s a contradictory thing to say, what with me being a wedding photographer and all, an occupation which entails attending events on weekly basis. But it’s a completely different ballgame when I have a camera in my hand and my job is to lurk in dark corners without being noticed. You’d think that happily covering a wedding with hundreds of people at places such as the Natural History museum would mean an awards event or two wouldn’t really faze me… you’d be thinking wrong.
The whole day yesterday I was a ball of nerves, driving everyone around me nuts. Hair stylist extraordinaire Severin was very gracious with me and my freakouts while he was creating an amazing hairdo for me, the man has the patience of a saint. I’m so glad I had good friends around me to keep me distracted and in high spirits, or there’s no knowing what kind of exit plan I might have come up with. When I stepped into Cafe dé Paris, and saw the heaving masses (yes! masses I tells ya!) of glamorous people dressed in the most amazing evening gowns and fancy suits, it took mustering up every last drop of my inner zen to not turn around and walk right back out. So. Very. Scary.
But of course that all was nothing compared to the actual awarding bit. You know, the bit where one by one winners are announced and they step into the spotlight on the stage. I actually had my fingers crossed and was muttering ‘not me not me’ under my breath throughout most of it. And then the moment came, and I heard my name… and didn’t quite know whether to pass out or escape. Somehow I made it up on the stage where Damian Bailey and Sarah Hewson presented me with my award, and then kindly made me turn to the right direction so the photographers could get a picture of me from the front, rather than the other way round… Erm.
Here’s a pictures that Susanna took of me picking up the award, trying not to fall on my face.
The good news was that that was the scary bit over with. And as it slowly started to dawn on me that I’d actually won, and was holding an award with my name carved onto it, happiness and pride started to take over. I hadn’t really expected to win, but holding that trophy (I never ever thought I’d be picking up a trophy for anything!) really did make me feel… validated. All the hours I’ve put in, all the pieces of myself scattered around in the form of people’s wedding pictures, all the risks and stresses and striving for perfection; none of it had gone unnoticed. And knowing that is… huge. Throughout the night and today congratulations have been coming in from all over (thank you so much!), each one making it all sink in more.
In the middle of writing this I realised I could finally access the comments that clients who voted for me left. And wow. I am speechless. I could never have prepared myself for how such amazingly beautiful words would make me feel, and have been knocked sideways by the kindness of everyone. Never mind titles and trophies, if the only thing I got out of this experience was seeing those comments, I would have been 100% happy. I am so so touched, and over the moon that so many people feel so happy with what I’ve provided them with. I seriously love you all and feel so privileged to have played a tiny little part in the story of your lives. Just… THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you also to the judging panel who had the hard task of deciding on the regional and national winners, it’s such an honour to be recognised in such a way. I’m very excited that such independent awards, where actual clients have a voice, exist in the UK, and hope they grow bigger and better year by year.
As always, a huge thank you to Susanna, for sharing some pretty amazing adventures with me, and first and foremost for being such an invaluable friend along the way.
And finally, I’d like to give a massive collective hug to the UK wedding industry. I’ve worked with so many lovely people, some of whom I’ve become close friends with, and I’m so happy and grateful of the positive and supportive spirit that most of the suppliers I work and communicate with possess. You all rock!