John Brandwood: The Wedding Photographer
Bryan Adams was getting his 'first real six string'.
French students were rioting...
It was the summer of '69, and John Brandwood, Callow Youth, got his first job in the photography business.
John Brandwood spent 2 whole years in the dark room, which is how photographs were made back then. He learned a million things that are now completely useless, and a million other things no-one else in the world will ever know. Was he in Paris, perhaps? Or Rome? Nay lad Blackburn. Then he moved to the Deep South Manchester.
Where he discovered Pink Floyd, Snake Bites and sex. In that order. By, it were great. And he had the privilege of developing (geddit?) his craft at none other than Guttenbergs, of snooty King Street. Where the great and good; or at least, the rich - went for their passport snaps. Here they taught him how to answer the phone without sounding like a guttersnipe. And how to shake hands without leaving sweaty patches.
Fully house trained, they began to share with him the secrets of quality. That a picture is not to be judged on sharpness alone; but on the scene it has stolen for eternity.
That look. That mood. That emotion.
It was an overdose of glamour for the provincial boy and not surprisingly, life as a lensman in Accrington held scant allure. (He'd grown his hair by now and t'folk in Accy were tekken aback..) So, like all true artists, he jacked it in. Walked away without so much as a backward glance, murmuring 'frankly my dear, I don't give a damn' to himself. Like a fool, he went into printing... But only for long enough to learn all about screen printing, off-set litho printing: you name it about printing. He is such an anorak.
Then it was back behind the camera. (Art always finds a way...). He took a lot of photographs of factories. Then came a series of commissions to shoot kit cars. Johnny B., (that's what he makes us call him), tells me he was the 'first bloke to use graduated colour filters on editorial car shots.'
Let us pause for a moment and bow our heads.
Meanwhile he got into selling Simda Slide Projectors - mostly because that was the best way of meeting the burgeoning brat-pack of audio-visual producers that had somehow evolved unseen and emerged en-masse; like leather back turtles. And so he got to shoot, programme, stage manage - and keep his cool whilst doing all those things at once, in three languages. And that, dear reader, is the main thing you want in an event producer. Believe me. He can do things with nine projectors that'll make your toes curl, mark my words: but that'd count for nothing if his head disappeared up his arse every time a fuse blew...
First he was with 'Bright Ideas'. Then, with Mr. Murgatroyd's Flying Circus, otherwise known as 'Multi-vision'. Since that firms' sad demise, he's been freelance. That's nearly fifteen years - and still the guy can get credit. Don't ask me how this can be. (Not that he needs it.)
Then came simply beautiful wedding photography with a difference!