There was a moment during Jamie and Nikki’s wedding where I probably felt prouder of myself than I ever have before. The thing is, I’m not normally a very confident person – I always joke that I have just enough self-doubt to push myself to be better and better each day. But to be totally honest, there’s just more than a hint of truth in that. But first, a little history.
Nikki is a an amazingly talented photographer and exceedingly kind human that lives in Glasgow, Scotland. She had been in Australia quite a few years ago and when one of her close Aussie friends asked for a recommendation of a wedding photographer, Nikki suggested me. This recommendation came after her only having briefly met me when I spoke at Folio Albums’ Final Fling in Birmingham in June 2013 – it was very kind of her I must admit. Unfortunately, I wasn’t available for her friend’s wedding but that was the start of my friendship with Nikki. We tried to catch up when she came to be part of her friend’s wedding (alas it didn’t happen as we simply couldn’t line up schedules), but when time came for her and Jamie to get married the next year, I was asked to share in it with them and their beautiful baby son Ollie. That’s how Kristen and I ended up in the wet and wild highlands of Scotland.
Jamie and Nikki were married on the edge of a loch in a small town called Aviemore about 3 hours north of Edinburgh. I feel like the beauty of a place like this can’t be just seen, it needs to be felt. You need to breathe in the clean air and touch the chilly water – there’s just something magical and pure about an experience like this. I kept thinking how unreal it was to be there – the history of this country, the house, the people – it all needed to come together for me to feel that way and it was amazing. I pinched myself for the thousandth time and felt so privileged to be a part of this.
So back to my story – it was during Nikki’s dad Dave’s speech that everything hit me. I was standing at the back of the room, looking over this beautifully decorated tipi and seeing the smiling faces of all of Nikki and Jamie’s guests. I was so busy trying to find that next photograph that I almost didn’t realise that Dave was talking about me. I must have heard something and looked up – it seemed that everyone was now staring at me. Dave continued and thanked me and Kristen for being there and spoke a little more explaining that I had been such an inspiration to Nikki as a photographer. I was a little shocked and must have looked a bit strange to everyone as I stood there – I don’t consider myself an inspiration at all and it was a little confronting to be told I was. The self-doubting Lakshal was trying to find excuses to justify why this wasn’t the truth and that Dave was clearly just being very nice to me. But as Jamie and Nikki both spoke later in the evening, I realised that my self doubt wasn’t needed that night. I could indeed feel truly proud of myself and that I needed to recognise that I actually can have a tangible difference in peoples’ lives. I’ve always believed that photographing weddings is bi-directional – it’s not just the couple that get something out of me, I benefit too and this was a perfect example to remind me. The feeling that I had that night is like a drug, I hope for it everywhere and each day I experience it, I feel just that little bit more confident. But Nikki and Jamie were so important to the start of that process – their love for me helped me love myself. Simply photographing their wedding feels like it’s just so insufficient to repay them – it’s something I will return to them forever with my friendship.