A few days ago I broke the festive limbo between Christmas and New Year to shoot my last wedding of 2017, at Manchester Town Hall. The pictures I took there will be my last inside that beaut of a building for quite some time (given it will close its doors in a couple of weeks for repairs and restoration that will take years to complete). I was only shooting for a few hours so after everyone had gone on I popped back in and just sat for a bit, watching the light and remembering all the insanely happy moments I’ve photographed within those insanely tiled walls. I know I’m not the only one to wonder how many hands worked how many hours to put those tiles and bricks in place. Or how on earth you make curtains that long. It’s a special place, and it makes those who stand within it feel special. I’ve seen it evoke pride and fondness in so many and, despite its grandeur, I’ve always found it to be a building that makes people feel welcome, rather than out of place. At once in awe and at home. A bit like the city it represents.
It’s a two way street though, I think. A building makes people feel a certain way, and the people that shape it, inhabit it, take care of it, or simply choose to be there – even just for a few hours – add something of their own. So, to me at least, part of our Town Hall’s specialness is because of all those people who have chosen to pass through and stand within it, together. Smiling, laughing, crying, marvelling at the bricks above them and the people next to them. Layers upon layers of human touch. I hope that’s all still there, after the pipes are fixed.
So, to feed my nostalgia, I thought I’d share one from my Town Hall archive. I only shot for a few hours for James and Laura, as this was just the beginning of their wedding adventure. The legal bit. Done with immense style and love, and a few nearest and dearest, they had their ceremony at the Town Hall, then went for a spin round the block to carry on celebrations at The Gotham Hotel. After that (and a bit of a rest) they all got on a plane and carried on celebrations under blue Spanish skies, which are up next… and admittedly quite nice to see at the moment, even if only on a screen.