It took Niki and Tom 10 years and 4 countries to make it to the day they married each other. They met in Brisbane where Tom was a local and Niki a visiting Masters student from Scotland. She knew she would only be there for a year and like my lovely Kristen, Niki was an independent woman who had grand plans of traveling the world and helping humanity using her skills. Following her studies, she left to work in Bangladesh and sadly left Tom behind, thankful at least for the year that they had together. Six years and a lot of life and experiences passed, they kept in touch but with a hollow feeling of loss deep within. Niki had moved again, this time to Uganda when Tom decided to visit – they were complete and neither wanted to let go again. Niki returned to the UK to take up a job where Tom, a few months later, taking a brave leap, left his life in Australia to join her. It was in the heat and dust of Africa that their love blossomed but under they grey skies of Manchester their life together began.
Niki is one of the best friends with my dear photographer friend Nikki – they both grew up in Scotland and went to high school together. Nikki with two k’s had asked me to photograph her wedding in Scotland in earlier this year and when Niki with one k found out that we would be in the UK when her and Tom’s wedding would be as well, it all became a possibility. She said to me “It is my close friend Nikki Leadbetter who brought your beautiful work to my attention. Nikki and I were an in separable terrible twosome growing up, and it is incredibly exciting that we are now organising our weddings at the same time. Nikki takes the most beautiful photographs I can imagine, so when she raved about your work I knew it would be something special. Having spent the weekend looking through them all, she is right. They are filled with love, light, warmth and intimacy – you feel like you are looking at pictures of people that you know, certainly not at pictures of strangers on the other side of the world.” I felt like Niki totally got me and we sent a few emails to each other working out whether it would be possible for Kristen and I to be part of their wedding day. Thankfully, it was.
Over the next few months, I got to know Niki and Tom and after spending time with them at their wedding as well as Nikki’s wedding, I could see how these two amazing people traveled the earth searching for contentment, yet came back to each other. And I’m so happy that I can count them as my friends now, wondrous at the fact that there are all of these amazing people all over the world that I get to meet because of what I do. But then again, knowing Tom and Niki’s story, it shouldn’t be a surprise to me at all that people can find others to connect with across the vast darkness of the oceans.