Friday, August 26 presents
Denis Reggie

PhotoChat: Denis Reggie
May 15, 2001

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Sandy: What film do you use inside chapels and cathedrals which aren't always the best lit? Do you use flash?

Denis Reggie: Most churches and synagogues limit or even prohibit the use of flash during the ceremony for obvious reasons. I like fast color or black and white film, like Kodak Portra 800, and Kodak T-Max 3200 films, because I'm able to work with long lenses from a distance, hidden from the guests and wedding party. The result is often amazing.

Nordica: What can a photograph capture that a video can't?

Denis Reggie: Good video is wonderful. But still photography offers couples enjoyment seen in framed images, and by their guests at home, as they easily view their album. Watching video takes a greater commitment. And, I would imagine, is seen far less than still images. Photographs are also easily emailed, or presented on the Web, for family and friends, and most of all, freezing time begs for scrutiny from the viewer. Attention to detail, maybe even in the background, that once viewed, tells of heartfelt moments.

Alice: How much training and experience does a person need to become one of the best photographers?

Denis Reggie: Photographing weddings is a no chance for a re-shoot proposition. So, a photographer must have complete confidence that the event will be recorded without fail. Many entrants into our profession work initially as assistants, to garner experience, and build confidence. Others come in to wedding photography via other areas of photography, perhaps sports, or even news coverage. Such backgrounds are great foundations for gaining the skills to be the reliable historian that couples demand. Most of us in this high-pressure world well remember our first solo assignment. Mine was one that I recall with a sweaty forehead, but most of all, with a smile, knowing that the images I captured would be appreciated for many years. Even today some 1600 weddings later, I must confess I still have occasional Friday night jitters, probably more anticipation than any worries. But I think jitters are a good thing. I think some risk is at the root of all creativity. And some, like myself, operate best with a touch of pressure.

Karontx: Do couples tend to choose having their pictures with special effects and what kind work the best for weddings?

Denis Reggie: Actually, I must admit, that my images are typically devoid of any special effects. In fact, I do not employ any filters or infrared film. My preference is for reality. My desire is simply for life, not for images bigger than life. I occasionally see at various conventions images done with starburst filters, to enhance candlelight, though quite honestly, I am not a fan of that look. In my parents' era, or perhaps a bit later, brides and grooms floating in brandy snifters, or superimposed on to the ceilings of churches, was the rage. Today, I look at those images, with a smile -- they are so dated! I must also describe the very popular image of the '70s, whereby a sheet of music was superimposed over the dancing couple. I'm so glad we've made it to the 21st Century, where reality is once again king.

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