Weddings at Vignamaggio are a real window into the world: the villa is opened up, adorned with fresh flowers and decorated for the occasion; For a few hours, the gardens are filled with guests, friends, laughter and evening wear. After sunset, the farm is animated by the rhythm of clinking glasses, music and dancing. Vignamaggio will always be the custodian of this magical day and the memories of it.
The other “custodian” of the perfect wedding, has to be the photographer: a master at discretely capturing a glance, immortalising a moment, illustrating a couple’s beauty, finding the best viewpoint and nonchalantly navigating a party where he knows (almost) no-one.
An interesting job that we have tried to learn more about in our interview with Lorenzo Berni at Kate & Francesco’s wedding.
- How did you hear about Vignamaggio?
I had the good fortune of hearing about Vignamaggio from Kate, the bride who told me about this place where her and Francesco were going to celebrate their wedding.
Actually, it was thanks to Kate that I had the good fortune of revisiting Vignamaggio; as she spoke about the location, she mentioned that the villa had been the set of a famous film, “Much ado about nothing” and asked whether I knew it. Of course I knew the film, I had seen it a few times (I love the atmosphere and the story those images of Tuscany tell) and for me it was very exciting to shoot a wedding in the same place that inspired Branagh to make his film of Shakespeare’s play.
- Weddings: what do you like about your work and are there ever any awkward moments?
The thing I like most about my work is the honour of capturing the precious event that marks the beginnings of new family. I think it’s wonderful, a responsibility and a duty. I play a role in the lives of two people who have decided to take an important step, one that should never be taken lightly. For me, the most beautiful thing is my role as witness to this event, capturing the essence of it as a story evolves through the images. Of course, another reason I love my work is the opportunity to travel and see magnificent places; making every moment count when I travel is a mind-set very conducive to my work.
As far as awkward situations go, I would say it’s most embarrassing when a couple asks me to take a selfie with them J. It’s not that I don’t do it or that I have anything against selfies, but I feel uneasy when they ask, maybe because in the context, as the photographer, I feel more comfortable behind the camera.
- Unforgettable scenes you would rather forget.
At a wedding recently, a guest, at the end of the evening, hugged the bride and (to her horror) began to lift her up. As he lifted her, he lost his balance and I got a shot of them as they fell. Luckily, she escaped without a scratch but she was quite shaken.
- Touching scenes you have never forgotten.
Many embraces come to mind, displays of affection, easy smiles that have really touched me. Perhaps the embrace I am most fond of is in the photo I have attached, a sincere expression of reassurance as the bride, all ready to go, spontaneous hugs her bridesmaid.
- Camera off as they begin to cut the cake? (or an amusing anecdote).
One of the most amusing moments, which happened to me twice, was watching the groom struggling with his tie, then looking at me anxiously and eventually asking “do you know how to do this thing?” Thanks to lessons from my grandfather as a child, even though it had been a while since I’d worn a tie myself, I was able to help. I found it amusing because I had taken it for granted that everyone knew how to knot a tie.
- If there was a city, a region, a place you could photograph forever, without ever getting tired of it. Where would that be and why?
My girlfriend and I recently visited Portugal and we went to Lisbon twice. If I had to choose, right now, I would say Portugal and maybe Lisbon in particular. I find it loaded with a poetry that is incredibly intense and edgy: melancholic and exuberant at the same time.
- Some photographers prefer some subjects to others: animals, human beings, landscapes, cakes or ornamental features. Tell us about your work and what subjects you instinctively tend to gravitate towards.
My favourite subject is the human being, my curiosity centres mainly around people; what is being expressed by certain behaviour or by a look. In fact, I have begun to develop my attention to detail and awareness of what is surrounding my subject, giving more consideration to how it will be framed.
- Choose 3 photographs which most represent you to put on our blog.
Choosing only three photos is not easy, but here they are. At this point, I would say that these photos best represent me.
The first is a very moving moment together that I shot during the photoshoot with the couple. I generally look for relaxed moments where there is none of the self-consciousness created by ‘posing’ and this is why my approach to these sessions is also centred on spontaneity, letting the lighting and the couple ‘do the talking’. I really watched and waited for this shot.
In the second, you will notice my fascination with geometry and light. We were in an enchanting place at the Lecco lake; at that moment the wooden structure had captured my attention while I was watching the couple spending a few moments together, away from the lunch. As I watched them, I noticed the sun push itself out from between the clouds, creating that fantastic light on the lake. A wonderful moment.
The third is from a few weddings ago and I keep going back to it because of how it captures this moment of intimacy between the bride and her best friend and bridesmaid. An instant of spontaneity that I witnessed through the half open door. There is a calmness in their smiles, a moment of closure when you feel secure in the fact that you are loved and you are ready to move on and take the next step towards something you have planned and wanted.
And your three fav. photos of Kate & Francesco?
The first is of the beautiful view the couple had from their table. Everything is so beautiful and perfect.
The second is of a specific moment, as they kiss after being declared man and wife.
The third is as they walk together. I love Vignamaggio with those colours and the couple at the centre of the image, so tender and close, walking with each other into their new life.
You can see more pictures of Lorenzo on his website and blog:
Thank you for reading!
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