“I have always listened to Radio London online (94.9). The radio has been my rock during this “Chapter”…you never feel like you are working alone.” Heather Shuker of Eclection Photography on her recommended lockdown pick-me-up
With one click of her camera, celebrated London-based, wedding photographer Heather Shuker of Eclection Photography can capture the beating spirit of a moment in the deepest of quality. An expression, the fading evening light of a long-awaited summer wedding, the – almost unreal – essence of a moment that you want to capture and hold in your hands for the rest of your life. “I’m not one to hang my work off the latest trends in wedding photography. I much prefer to focus my work around my couples and their aesthetic”, which is, as I think you’ll agree, music to our ears. Having studied photography at Central St Martins, before being awarded a Master of Arts in Photography from the University of Brighton, you’ve probably come across Heather’s work before, without even knowing it. Especially when considering she’s been featured in the likes of Vogue, The Guardian, The Times, the BBC and many, many more outstanding publications. BOY will you want this photographer by your side at the wedding, am I right?
I caught up with Heather to talk all things lockdown 3.0…
#1 We’ve just gone into Lockdown 3. In three words, describe how you are currently feeling…
#2 Talk to us about your usual daily routine for your business and how this will change in lockdown…
“BC (Before Corona) my routine revolved around shoots and weddings. My time and computer processing is planned around each shoot, the edit and final delivery of images. In general I split my time about 50/50 out on shoots and working at the studio editing etc.
From the first lockdown in March my structure was lost when all weddings and shoots were postponed; the diary was thrown into chaos and the weeks seemed to disappear talking to clients and re-arranging shoots and travel plans. I invested a lot of time working with my couples to select new dates – I wanted to ensure they made the best decision to allow for their plans and to have the best light etc. I do not want any of my couples to feel that they had to compromise on their wedding plans.
When restrictions were finally lifted in the late summer I was lucky enough to photograph five mini weddings before lockdown 2. I have also sneaked in a few fashion and portrait commissions and started a personal project called ‘Stories of Gratitude’.
With lockdown 3 I have tried to incorporate a little more structure to take advantage of this gift of extra time. I start everyday with at least 10 minutes of yoga, I have been disciplined about learning Spanish every day and I have a break mid-afternoon for a run/walk/cycle.”
#3 How will/does lockdown impact your business, and how can people (brides/the wedding industry) support you throughout?
“I spent far too much time re-arranging shoots and then re-arranging again, re-booking and cancelling logistics etc. There has been a lot of tail chasing for almost a year now. So right now I really do feel the need to put my energy into just creating. Not just the physical creation of art and images, I need the human connection with others too. I would love to collaborate and create arty London centric works. So get in contact as I am free to walk in a park or jump on a call to create ideas!”
#4 Name three small businesses on Instagram you are supporting or would like to support more…
No.1 “@hood_london – an online hat shop and millinery label designed by Adèle Mildred and Gabrielle Djanogly, providing “bewitching headpieces with an emphasis on functionality.”
I photographed Adele & Gabrielle a few years ago for an editorial feature. I love a headpiece/hat at a wedding – as a photographer I am always drawn to capture the wearer – a hat says so much about a person. We need more hats at weddings!”
No.2 “@halfpennylondon – a British bridal brand. I’m really looking to work with and support British and London dress designers. I recently shot a wedding with the Turner skirt and it was so much fun.”
No.3 “@thalassophy – a recently launched British luxury lifestyle brand making swim shorts from recycled marine plastics. They launched at the end of 2019, however, with luxury holidays and international shoots off the agenda in 2020 – I shot a summer Best of British campaign for them in Margate.”
#5 Favourite lockdown snack?
“I visited our corner shop quite a lot during lockdown and for gin-o-clock each day during the announcements – I worked my way through their crisp selection. I now have a thing about Ringos!”
#6 What’s your most recommended lockdown pick-me-up when you’re feeling down during lockdown? What’s getting you through the days?
“I have always listened to Radio London online (94.9). The radio has been my rock during this “Chapter”. I love feeling connected to London and what is happening in the capital. Both Robert Elms and Jo Good have provided upbeat programs covering positive things happening in the city. With both shows and the regular listeners phoning in you never feel like you are working alone.”
#7 What’s the item you can now NEVER find in the supermarket (and consequently dreamt continuously about) during lockdown?
“Living in London we are spoilt with access to so many shops and I try and shop independent where I can. I know with all the baking craze there was a big run on flour and eggs, however, we have a great Italian deli who always had flour and eggs served with a great joke!”
#8 Name a dinner/meal or beverage choice you feel might bring someone joy to their lockdown life…
“As the summer was so great – we did slip into aperitivo time quite naturally. Mine was an Americano (vermouth, Campari and soda) or a Negroni for lightweights.”
#9 Talk us through what’s new at your brand…
“This chapter has made everyone realise that the most important things in our lives are our friends and family. As a photographer capturing relationships and human connections it has always been integral to my work. I always encourage couples to take a few minutes out of a busy wedding to talk to a parent/grandparent. It is our duty as photographers to create time for these moments. It is not only the physical photograph, but also the moment itself that is important.
In terms of my style as a photographic artist and how it has evolved recently. I feel a move towards a more timeless and classic (with a twist) aesthetic within my wedding portfolio. I feel so much more connected to London as a city and excited about creating stories in all the new places I have discovered. The streets of London are there laid out in all their glory to be used.”
#10 What’s your lockdown outfit most days?
“As I start each day with yoga and get outside each day for a run/cycle – my go to outfit is my running gear. Now with winter I’ve pimped up my look with ski socks and my assorted un-matching fleeces/jumpers to be extra cosy at my desk.”
#11 What series have you now completed on Netflix/Amazon Prime etc.? Any recommendations?
“In the first lockdown we watched the entire series of Downton Abbey! I know how old?! However, it just popped up and it was easy watching and pure escapism. I love anything with interesting and cinematic filming and we could not wait for the final series of the Deuce to come out. Highly recommended! American drama television series created by David Simon set in New York City during the 1970s and 1980s. Right now we are watching Succession and I love it. I have never watched so much TV in my whole life!”
#12 The person(s) you will hug first when social distancing is no longer in place?
“My mum. She lives in Cheshire with my sisters. She came and stayed with me for two weeks in October, however, I have not been able to see her since. The great news is that she has her vaccine last week!”
#13 An act of kindness towards you that you’ve really appreciated during lockdown?
“A friend posted a 1000 piece jigsaw back in April in the eye of the Covid storm and it was a welcome and meditative distraction.”
#14 For a little Instagram-escapism and positivity, what account would you recommend?
“@brian_bilson – “I write poems””
#15 Name three things the lockdown has made you grateful for:
No.1 “Human connection.”
No.2 “Being able to exercise (run and cycle).”
#16 Which restaurant will you dine at first once restrictions are lifted again?
“Supporting one of our locals, The Tapas Room. We spent our last night in there in March and again in December when they announced restaurants had to close again.”
#17 What would be your five film recommendations to watch during lockdown…
- “Peanut Butter Falcon – watched last night.
- Little Miss Sunshine – a fave feel good.
- The Bucket List – watched in Lockdown no. 1
- Docu/art Keith Haring Street Art Boy is still available on BBC iPlayer.”
#18 What book would be top of your lockdown book list?
“Currently reading Ali Smith The Accidental.”
#19 Name an odd purchase you’ve made during lockdown…
“I had a huge desire to sit and sharpen all my pencils and bought one of those sharpeners we had at school. You know, when you have three websites to build – however, all my brain wanted to do was sharpen pencils!”
#20 The best gift you received this festive period?
“Jorge my partner bought me bluetooth headphones that transmit sound via your bones to wear while running/walking so you can still hear traffic etc.”
#21 Name a brand you would love to collaborate with…
“London dress designers. I’m looking to collaborate on a campaign focusing on London and celebrating the city. Designers who’s dresses I have loved working with recently at weddings are Halfpenny London, Sassi Holford and Temperley London.”
#22 What’s your advice to lockdown brides?
“The days are getting longer and although locked down – we really are almost there! Live in the moment and invest time in yourself – get your dancing shoes ready for all the celebrations. It is going to be like the roaring 20’s!”
#23 Your favourite beverage of choice?
“Yorkshire tea. There is only ever Yorkshire tea in our house.”
#24 Name your favourite magazine to curl up with…
“I work with Condé Nast so I am subscribed to Vogue. Magazine subscriptions are the best although they do signify the passing of time when the next one arrives! Their editorial response and art direction to the situation has been amazing. I loved the essential workers feature, then the Reset feature in August with 14 different covers by different artists. Then the January issue, featuring Kate Moss (again two covers) – if you haven’t seen it – go now!”
To discover this photographer’s incredible work head to the Eclection Photography website STAT.
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