Marmite. No I’m not peckish and fancying a bit of toast, but this is probably the best way to describe people’s feelings towards our in-house style here at The Branch - you either love it or hate it. We hope you love it, totes obvs, but if someone feels we’re not the best fit for them then that’s also fine as there are lots of photographers out there to suit different tastes.
For those of you who love what we do, you may have wondered where our unique (and some would say iconic… I’ll get brownie points for getting that in from the marketing guru that is Mrs Twig) style comes from. Well, sit down, take the load off and let’s have coffee and a chat (mine’s a latte).
The Branch style has a unique, vintage scrapbook feel and is an idea that stems from my childhood. I grew up in a world without digital photography and social media, when photographs were taken on film and had to be sent away to be developed in a lab (insert ‘how old’ jokes here).
My parents had a lot of photographs, but only a few were kept pristine in their respective albums or wallets with their negatives (if you don’t know what these are ask someone old!). The rest were jumbled into an old, and rather battered looking, M&S carrier bag. The excitement of sitting down with that tatty old bag, not knowing which photographs I would pull out that day and what stories they would tell, fascinated me as it would be a completely different experience every time.
Images of me as a baby would emerge, followed by hilarious pictures of my Mom and Dad in their early 20s, aged with a sepia hue, then next a few snaps of my Grandparents in black and white before a few modern looking Polaroids from a recent Christmas.
I loved seeing this random selection of images, with all their varying styles and colours; sepia, black and white, Polaroid, modern gloss and the matte prints of the 70s with their iconic (see, I used it again Mrs Twig) white borders. Some of the images had faded or changed colours over time which only made them all the more charming to me.
As well as simply seeing what images I might find on any given rummage, one of my favourite things to do was to create my own story using a tatty old empty album that had been flung in the bag and long forgotten.
Being of an imaginative mind and someone who, even as a youngster, loved to create I never really planned out my childhood album designs with any logic or order. There was no rhyme or reason to it, such as here’s the Wilkinson beach holiday or Christmas 1984. It was more about me creating a collection of images, in any order, that just felt right.
So a photograph of me as a baby would sit right next to a wedding photograph of my parents, both of which shared the same space as a black and white image of my Mother and Grandfather in the old family garden. These early designs were based around colour, flow and feel - which is exactly how I design your images to this day.
Now a little older and a little wiser, (hey, I said a little!) and with years of fine art and graphic design experience under my belt, I’ve been able to create a style and a brand that is unique to us at The Branch. These days my passion is driven by skill, as well as raw instinct, I generally know as soon as I’ve taken an image how I will edit it and what final look I am aiming for.
Incidentally, this is why it can sometimes take a few weeks for us to get your image proofs back to you as I hand edit each and every photograph (no batch processing here) to create your own vintage scrapbook album, with a look and feel that is just right, and unique to you, just like I did as a kid. (Only your album won’t be a tatty old thing in a battered looking M&S bag - we’ve upgraded a bit since then!).
Until next time Branchettes!