Everything starts somewhere. My beginning started in June 1981. A fresh faced synth pop band made their TV debut on UK music show. The show was Top of the Pops; the band in question were Depeche Mode. I was 13 and their futuristic electronic sound blew me away.
But what's this got to do with photography? Bear with me, I'll get there.
From that moment on I became a huge fan of the band. And like all teenage boys I decided I wanted to be a pop star. So that Christmas I got a Casio synthesizer. A year or two later, a better Yamaha synth. Eventually friends and I started a band. Das Kapital. Just like Depeche Mode. Except we sucked. I couldn't play and I couldn't sing. My dream of pop star stardom was over.
But at the same time, I was really getting into the photography of Depeche Mode and I discovered it was by a dutch photographer called Anton Corbijn. He worked for the New Musical Express and had shot lots of cool bands like Joy Division, U2, REM just to name a few. Suddenly I was hooked...
...photography was the new rock & roll and I wanted to be a photography.
And unlike music, I was good at it and people seemed to like what I was doing...so very different to being booed off stage at a school disco.
My photographic passion became candid street photography. I enjoyed blending in, unobtrusively capturing un-ordinary moments in ordinary scenes. Looking for humour and irony. My candid street photos asking more questions than giving answers. Documentary photographers like Elliot Erwitt, Garry Winogrand, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Tony Ray-Jones becoming big influences.
Fast forward and I started shoot news and photojournalism on a freelance basis, providing work to the likes of Getty Images, Alamy Corbis to name a few. My work was appearing in Newspapers, magazines. I even got exhibited in the likes of the Mall Galleries in central London.
Then it happened. Someone said, "good at photography, will you shoot our wedding?" I said no. And then no again. I couldn't think of anything worse. After all, wedding photography was all cheesy poses, soft focus and drunken group shots, wasn't it? But they kept on asking and in the end I relented. But on one condition: I shoot it like a street photographer - everything natural, candid and documentary. They agreed. I loved it and the rest they say is history.
That was 2012. I didn't even know at the time that wedding photojournalism was even a thing. So I've been shooting Weddings ever since, in my candid street meets documentary style capturing natural moments, genuine emotions and real stories. I've even been lucky enough to win the odd wedding photography award or two along the way.
I still shoot street photography in my spare time. In fact, I was recently lucky enough to be selected by renowned street photography historian Colin Westerbeck to be one of 20 featured street photographers in an upcoming book on contemporary street photography.
I live in south London but happily shoot weddings wherever my camera takes me in the UK and beyond. Next year I'm off to deepest Finland for a wedding.
When I do put my camera down I love writing, mainly fiction. I've had the odd short story published here and there, as well as being a finalist in a couple of short screenplay competitions. Oh and I still love music. My tastes are pretty eclectic these days, from indie to jazz, soul to classical. But I still love Depeche Mode, which is where my career as a documentary wedding photography strangely began.
I'm proud to also be a member of the Artistic Guild of the Wedding Photojournalist Association too.
I'd love to hear from you.
1 Awards for Documentary Wedding Photography
3 Awards from the Artistic Guild of Wedding Photojournalists
1 TOP Wedding Photographer Titles
The WPJA proudly recognizes Darren Lehane as a TOP International Wedding Photographer. Members holding the most contest points at the end of each year are ranked as TOP Wedding Photographers or, in some cases POY - Photographer of the Year.