by Brett Florens Published 01/11/2012
Having fallen into photography largely by accident, Brett Florens has gone on to have a remarkable career and he's determined to show delegates at the 2013 Societies Convention how they can do the same.
There's a wry smile playing around the lips of Durban-based Brett Florens when he recalls how he first started out on his photographic career. "It was 1992 and I was fulfilling my South African national service obligations in the police riot unit," he recalls. "I was asked if I would like to start a photographic department there and I took the opportunity, as I wasn't very fulfilled in that which I was doing at the time. I always joke that if the force had needed a mechanic, then that's what I would be today!"
It's a typically modest assessment by a man who, since this somewhat inauspicious start, has gone on to embrace everything from photojournalism through to being a highly successful wedding, commercial and fashion photographer, with longstanding clients such as Wonderbra, Playtex, Quiksilver and Roxy. Along the way Brett has achieved numerous accolades, the most recent of which was the prestigious distinction of being chosen amongst 12 photographers deemed to be masters in their respective field, as Nikon's Wedding representative to promote the brand at the giant Photokina trade show in Cologne.
Another indicator of the stature Brett has achieved in the wedding market is the fact that, to date, he's produced four successful training DVDs and he's also published a book entitled Brett Florens' Guide to Photographing Weddings. Currently he spends much of his time travelling the world hosting workshops and seminars; "I really enjoy sharing what I have learned over the years and would love to expand my international teaching events," he confirms.
Building a style
Like every great photographer, Brett has an instantly recognisable style, and it's one that borrows heavily from fields that are normally seen as alien to wedding photography. "My style is very editorial," says Brett. "I draw inspiration from top fashion photographers and magazines around the world, and I try to stay away from stereotypical wedding photography."
Take a visit to Brett's website and browse through his wedding portfolio and you soon discover the truth of this statement. Image after image appears that could so easily be straight off the pages of one of the top fashion titles, whether it be a couple leading a white horse across a field set against an impossibly moody sky or a bride in full regalia lounging gracefully sideways across a chair, her dress trailing out behind her. No wonder the average wedding client has never seen anything like this before, and it's fascinating to see how the values of different sectors have been adapted and fashioned to meet the requirements of the modern couple looking for a little added panache.
Brett has only been a member of The Societies for a few months, yet declares that he already feels like he belongs and he considers from what he's seen that it's a great platform for sharing and learning. "The talk amongst other photographers is that the Convention is also a great event for re-igniting your passion," he says, and he'll be able to find out for himself first hand in January, when he pays his first visit to present three masterclasses that are sure to be eagerly anticipated.
The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Novotel London West, Hammersmith ...
You have 171 days until The Societies of Photographers Convention starting on Wednesday 16th March 2022