by Skip Cohen
The real fun of social media is about how small it makes the world. Meet UK photographer and good buddy Wes Simpson. We first "met" almost eight years ago when he posted the image to the right on Facebook. I loved it and contacted him for permission to share it in a blog post.
That started a friendship based entirely on Facebook and IMs. Since then, Wes has received numerous awards, including Wedding Photographer of the Year in 2022 and 2023 at the English Wedding Awards.
Although Wes has shared hundreds of beautiful images, there's still something about this one that makes me smile. It's whimsical, fun and captures the essence of two newlyweds.
I'm so appreciative of social media technology and the process of how Wes and I connected. I was sitting in my office on a Friday morning in Sarasota, Florida, and Wes was in the UK getting his gear set up for a wedding. He was over 4000 miles away, in another country, and five or six hours ahead of me. We've never physically met, yet the common denominator, our mutual love for the craft, had us talking like two old friends in a pub!
The graffiti wall Wes chose for the photograph is one of Banksy's art pieces. I didn't know who Bansky was until Wes gave me the name. A quick Google search and I had the background on this old car park in Liverpool. Wes gave me the following backstory.
The Groom is an art collector. When I arrived at the wedding breakfast I parked at a car park close to the venue and noticed the "Banksy" on the wall, I assumed it was a fake. I'm more of a documentary photographer but during the wedding breakfast (in between courses) I asked the bride and groom to step outside and follow me 'I have a great idea for a shot and I think you'll love it" and they did!
The Groom too had no idea there was a real Banksy so close by. We did the shot and they where back inside for dessert without any of the guests even noticing they'd gone. It was the last shot of the day with the groom saying "We won't top that!"
There's one other aspect I so appreciate about the image above. It was the start of a great friendship. I'm still hoping to catch up with Wes for a beer someday, but in the meantime, I truly value his support and his passion for the craft. A big thanks to Wes for sharing not only the image that started it all but also a wonderful friendship.
Just for the fun of it, I grabbed a few of my favorites from his website portfolio. Feel free to join me in making the world a smaller place - click on any image in this post to visit Wes Simpson's website and galleries.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.