Order from chaos – that is Jorge Miguel Jaime Báez’s photography perfectly described. Jorge takes all of the emotions and the unpredictability of a wedding day, creating from it a series of documentary style images, capturing moments a regular wedding photographer would surely miss in the charge from one set piece to another. And it’s those moments, otherwise lost, which make his photography so special.
This bride waiting to head into the ceremony is just one example of how a candid approach works to capture the raw emotion. Jorge explains:
She had stopped earlier at this framed picture of her mother, who had passed away two years earlier. I was too late first time, so I waited quietly in my spot, with the exposure and focus ready. She came closer again, and I shot. I had to tilt the camera a bit so that everything was where it should be. The silhouetted father in the background was essential to capture all the emotions I felt; it’s a sense of loneliness with absolute clarity. This was the bride’s favourite wedding picture.
Jorge’s approach stems from personal experience: his own wedding in 2006 and a moment that went unrecorded, remembered only by himself and his soon-to-be wife, and photographic partner, Maria.
María was asking me which earrings she should wear and given the blank response she received, she asked if anything was wrong. I was nervous and unable to talk. That is the most intense and beautiful memory I have of that day, symbolising the essence, the present and the future of my life.
Sadly, the photographer they’d hired was sitting outside waiting for them, and Jorge reflects on how disappointed the couple felt when they saw images from the day. “When we saw the photos of the day,” Jorge ponders, “we knew they said nothing about the way we felt.” This was the turning point, the moment he knew his photography had to change and focus on what was most important: “people, their passions and their feelings: the story of their wedding day.”
The candid style, says Jorge, depends on immersing yourself in that chaos. In the joy and sadness, the clamour and the nerves. Life, really. It has to do, primarily, with trust. “You have to gain enough trust to be in places and situations in which other people are not supposed to be. You have to be there without being there, without taking part, without giving an opinion, just documenting. If you intervene, if you change and you direct, in the end all the weddings will follow the same pattern. But if you let things flow, you will be amazed at the situations and you’ll record unimaginable moments. I go to weddings with an open mind, prepared to capture emotions.”
For his wedding work, Jorge customises the focal length with in-camera cropping, to effectively lengthen them. “The α7R III enables you to customise a button to shoot in full frame at 42Mp, or with an APS-C crop at 18Mp, so my 55mm becomes a handy 82mm. I love that innovation and being able to change to it fast.”
Jorge understands how important it is to get to know the couple getting married and their preferences, curiosities and feelings, so he can anticipate the moments that enable him to capture such candid shots. He explains that at the bottom of this bride’s bouquet she had two photos of her grandparents – he’d captured some images but wasn’t satisfied they were compelling enough. Following conversations with the couple, he knew how important it was that he perfected this shot so adapted his direction.
As we approached, I could see the two images clearly and her in the background, so I decided to make this frame, not showing the bride entirely. I wanted to reflect the passage of time, generations and respect for the elderly. That was the last photograph taken of the elderly lady, who passed away a few days later.
Something Jorge loves about wedding photography is the adrenaline rush he gets when he knows he has captured a particularly candid and special moment, especially when that image is one he has looked for and drawn in his head. “In this image,” he explains “Veronica prepared a special memory for her mother, but the mother did not have glasses to read it, so she read it to her. The emotion was growing slowly and I had to decide which frame to take, so I focused on the embrace, but composed with the girls on the right.”
Where there is chaos you will find me! I was using the rear screen of my camera when I saw a child running towards me to my right. I said nothing to the child and kept my finger on the shutter button capture I was fortunate enough to get the child’s legs as a vignette, defining the focal point. It’s instinct - if something tells you to shoot, do so – that is what makes you different from other people: your curiosity, your preferences and weaknesses.
For Jorge, capturing the perfect image is not about keeping up with stereotypes or fashions, or thinking about competition prizes – it’s about catching the moments that reflect the huge host of feelings there are to be captured.
This image of groom Juan Carlos is one of Jorge’s favourites. He explains Juan Carlos was feeling nervous ahead of the ceremony and needed to be alone. When Jorge found him, he describes how restless he was and how he knew that this moment was essential to catch: “He got up and started prowling around the dining room table. So I got ready to shoot. He put his hands on the table and let out a big sigh. He then added: “Jorge, how far we’ve come.”
For Jorge, this moment sums up why he has so much passion for photography: “That says it all; how important today is for them, all that he has been through and the future that awaits. That is why it is essential to capture those moments, treating them with sincerity and in-keeping with my beliefs.”
"History is formed by people, their passions and their emotions"