Spotlight: Anesta Broad
In this series we are sharing some of the wonderful photographers who make up the NineDots Community. Finding out what makes them tick and the what, why and how behind some of the work they are most proud of. Today Essex Wedding Photographer Anesta shares her favourite 3 images and why she loves them so much.
WHY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY?
When it was first suggested that I should try wedding photography, I thought my friends were crackers. I mean, weddings sounded like the most terrifying situation to voluntarily put myself into. I was quite happy getting my step count in as a children’s and family photographer. Toddlers can really clock up speed when they see a camera. I loved their energy, the challenge and the satisfaction of creating photographs that were making families happy.
Then one day, I realised I needed to truly listen to the voices. Growth comes with moving out of my comfort zone. My wedding photography journey began by educating myself on what that even meant. I booked myself on a four-day residential wedding photography course a five-hour drive from home. I returned with my mind full of possibilities and a resolve to pivot my business in a way that was low risk. My plan was to book two weddings before the year was out whilst still shooting family photography. I texted my family and friends, saying something along the lines of “if you help land me two weddings, I will buy you dinner”. Well, something happened that I wasn’t expecting. By the end of that week, I had two bookings. It seems my friends love free food!
Then something else happened. Two weddings turned into twenty, and my curiosity turned into a passion. I discovered that I love the perspective of weddings through the lens. I get a kick out of capturing a moment that goes unseen, a gesture that pulls at the heartstrings, a joyful expression that shifts my mood to happiness, a comedy moment that makes me burst out laughing. It brings me contentment. Unexpectedly wedding photography has helped me through some tough times. Through battling cancer and also losing my Dad, the camera brought me a welcome distraction. Photography seems to have become an extension of me and also my legacy.
Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I have questioned whether weddings are for me. The day I called the mother of the bride Steve (her name was Barbara) still haunts me. After fifteen years as a photographer and ten years photographing weddings, I still feel a sense of contentment. It took me quite some time to also realise that I was helping to break down the stereotypical British view of what a wedding photographer looked like. I am an Afro Caribbean Black British female running my own successful photography business. This carries unintended positive role modelling. I am proud of that.
Anesta’s Spotlight photos
Picture yourself in the scene. It’s a comfortably hot spring day on the Greek island of Santorini. You are feeling chuffed to have escaped the daily grind for a mini break. You’re on a scenic rooftop terrace awaiting the start of your friend’s wedding ceremony, looking positively sharp in your crease free suit that survived the flight. Your darling baby daughter is cranky and just won’t settle despite your pacing and hip bouncing. And suddenly she deposits her breakfast and lunch, possibly yesterday’s dinner too, down your suit. Of course, you have no change of clothes and the spare pack of baby wipes is in the minibus which is 874 uneven steps down in the rocky car park. Unimpressed, you reconsider your life choices just for a split second. A smile eventually follows plus a request for excessive amounts of napkins, as what else can you do.
This photo has been one of my favourites for quite some time. It was a lightning moment that I felt lucky to witness. It was also one of the most relatable parenting moments I have ever captured. I have been that parent, in that moment, multiple times. It’s the reason why I could never leave home without a pack of wet wipes for 15 years.
I have dipped in and out of different photography institutions and communities over the years. As I grew as a photographer, my needs and priorities shifted over time. I would say the last 5 years have brought the greatest clarity, which has helped me to find the NineDots community. How utterly refreshing it was to stumble across a photography community that was so welcoming, fun, current, relatable and honest about how life is. That is not an easy combination to find in one place!
I have been struck by how much talent and experience there is in the group. I particularly appreciate the emphasis on humility and encouragement to learn from each other. Joining the community has given me a much needed confidence boost and come at a really good time.