I’m booked to shoot a Sunday wedding on an island in the Thames. Unsurprisingly this address confuses my sat nav. When I met the couple there in advance to case the joint, I travelled on public transport with just one camera. Driving is a different matter. I get within a few miles and then do a lot of noodling around asking for directions. No one has anything nice to say about sat navs.
Eventually I ask a man in a basketball vest and shorts who’s taking his dog for a walk by the river. He insists on getting into my car and guiding me through the Kingston one-way system because there’s no way he can explain how to get about it in words and because he’s going in that direction anyway.
So there’s me and my camera gear, basketball man, and a pit-bull terrier in a hatchback navigating a vehicular maze. He was right: there’s no way he’d have been able to explain this. Basketball man is an ex-DJ. En route we have an interesting conversation about the advantages and disadvantages of Emulator-X sound sampling hardware, and the dog behaves immaculately. I drop my native guides off about a mile from the venue and continue on alone to find a side-street to park in.
Despite my diversions I’m still early (so early in fact that I will later be told that I can’t take the ferry out until the previous wedding party is well out of the way). Even so, as I leave my car, I spy two women in summer dresses getting out of a little convertible. “Are you going to X and Y’s wedding?” I ask.
One of them answers the question with a question: “Yeah, do you know the way?”
I’m on foot again now and recognise the neighbourhood so, ironically, I do.
“Yeah, I’m the photographer. I’ll show you if you help me carry a couple of bags,” I offer with a smile.
“Okay, but only if you give me your number.”
“I’m a scientist” never had that kind of effect on women.