Folio | Chasewild
As two males working in an industry that leans heavily towards its female demographic, the photographers have found that their own style speaks to a segment of the population that isn’ t as well served by the conventional approach
Cameron Thorp and James Broadbent, the dedicated duo behind the destination wedding photography brand Chasewild, have turned their individual passions into a profitable joint pursuit. Now highly sought after for their authentic and adventurous documentation, they travel long distances to record the most important days of many couples’ lives
Wedding photographers live in moments of connection, documenting both the ritualized and honest scenes of two people coming together in union. And how better to understand that process than for photographers to come together themselves, in creative union? That’s the collaborative spirit which has propelled local wedding brand Chasewild to rapid success. In just over two years, Cameron Thorp and James Broadbent have created an extremely popular wedding photography business under the Chasewild banner. Thriving in the dynamic energy that the name suggests, the duo are highly sought after for their authentic and adventurous documentation of wedding days, both locally and around the world. It is their eagerness to connect meaningfully with people and their penchant for exploring the natural world that helps Chasewild offer couples something unique, Cameron explains. “Those connections, along with working extremely hard to shoot in good light and great locations, is the backbone of what we do.” James echoes that commitment to authenticity, and his love for documentary photography provides an aesthetic foundation for the duo’s work. “It’s those unposed candid moments throughout the day that are so much more cherished than an image of you looking into the camera while posing,” he says. Like many of the couples they shoot, Cameron and James have a story of first meeting that involves different backgrounds, chance encounters, and mutual interests. The former was working with young people, the latter travelling from India to Europe, before they met at university — neither studying photography. They ended up flatting together, and both discovered a passion for photography at around the same time.
Having learned photography essentially in tandem, both shooters realized that they could offer a cohesive aesthetic and experience to their clients, while helping each other overcome all the inevitable pitfalls of a new enterprise
“Through this, we spent many hours shooting together as we learned our skills,” James recalls. “We both had friends photographing weddings, and we each had the opportunity to shoot a wedding with friends in 2013. After this, we were both hooked, and we knew that it was something we wanted to pursue.” After a year of shooting weddings separately, the two individual careers dovetailed into the shared Chasewild brand. Having learned photography essentially in tandem, both shooters realized that they could offer a cohesive aesthetic and experience to their clients, while helping each other overcome all the inevitable pitfalls of a new enterprise. Although their background makes collaborating on the brand easy, as both artists have a shared vision for the Chasewild look, it’s important to proactively maintain connection with each other, Cameron says: “We are intentional about checking in with each other in what we do, new tricks we are learning, and, when it comes to editing, we sit beside each other in the office and are often involved in the editing process of the other as we push and develop our colours and aesthetics.” Yet every relationship goes through its rocky patches, and that’s as true of a creative business partnership as any other. As anyone who has gone into business with a friend will know, differences in working style and uncommunicated assumptions can strain a friendship — while the Chasewild duo could easily split their wedding workload, boundaries for the business side were not so clear.
“No doubt this is something that most business partners deal with and need to work through,” James says. “After almost splitting up over this issue, we managed to establish a new business model that allows each of us to give as much or as little to the business as we are able to give at the time, while keeping things fair.” With the relationship on solid foundations, the photographers have been able to create a brand of wedding photography that combines a naturalistic, genuine approach to portraiture with the thrill of exploration and a love of the outdoors. You’ll find their couples perched atop mountains or meandering along bush streams as often as in a chapel or function hall. The adventurous results have helped spread the Chasewild name not just throughout Aotearoa but all around the globe. “I remember the first wedding we shot overseas: it was in a small town just outside of Lyon, in France,” Cameron reminiscences. “I remember constantly pinching myself, not believing that I could be invited around the world to be a part of such an intimate and special day in another culture. That was pretty special.” Since then, Chasewild has shot weddings in Australia, Sweden, Croatia, England, Canada, Italy, Scotland, Morocco, Ireland, India, the Cook Islands, and the Faroe Islands. The duo has developed a division of labour that works best for their respective situations: James loves to travel and spends at least four months in the year on the road, so he handles most of the international shoots; Cameron has put in his travelling miles, and now prefers to shoot mostly at home or in closely neighbouring countries. As two males working in an industry that leans heavily towards its female demographic, the photographers have found that their own style speaks to a segment of the population that isn’t as well served by the conventional approach. These couples appreciate a raw approach to shooting and editing, and what could be thought of as more masculine tones and lighting situations. “This doesn’t mean that we don’t know how to make our brides look absolutely stunning, but, rather, that the general look and approach may be slightly different to the more feminine classic wedding photography style you see so often.” After all these weddings, the pair still feel privileged to be a part of one of the most important days in any couples’ lives. But they know that it’s not just the ‘mountaintop moments’ but the everyday communication, mutual respect, and openness that make a relationship work. And having a ball along the way doesn’t hurt.
CANON EOS 5D MARK IV, CANON EF 35MM F/1.4L II USM LENS, 35MM, 1/1000S, F/3.5, ISO 100
CANON EOS 5D MARK IV, CANON EF 35MM F/1.4L II USM LENS, 35MM, 1/160S, F/2, ISO 250