In the process of writing a blog on the upcoming Royal Wedding, I realised that I had enough shots from one of my marriage-related assignments to make a separate blog, so here’s some work from a visit to the Wellington Barracks in central London.

With the media demand for wedding-related stories getting to a state of frenzy, the likes of which not being seen since the last feeding time at One-armed Bob’s Piranha Farm, the military has arranged a whole series of trips to various military bases to see how the preparations are coming along for the big day. With the Coldstream Guards and the Scots Guards both involved in the Royal Wedding ceremony, the day’s visit involved seeing what this entailed.

I’m guessing that most of the young soldiers that were lined up for the visiting media today, weren’t really expecting this kind of attention when they signed up for Queen and Country. Thankfully, everyone played along nicely, with the biggest problem being trying to work in the same room as television crews. It’s such a pleasure to shoot with people who get in your shot during the photographer’s time, then demand silence and privacy during their time. Grrr…

While there were quite a few set-up shoots, arranged by the Ministry of Defence, I also got the chance to get behind the scenes as members of F Company of the Scots Guards prepared to take part in the traditional “Changing the Guard”. On these kind of visits, it’s the norm to be chaperoned at all times and steered gently away from the locations that would actually make the best frames, so it was a real joy to be able to poke around uninhibited.

My trouble, as always with jobs involving the armed forces, is working out how to ask the relevant question of identification; should I ask what rank? which regiment? which brigade? Whichever I choose is usually met with a polite look of pity for my ignorance and a lengthy explanation of where I am and what I’m doing. This may sound patronising but I appear to need it. Every single time.

Having been in London for close to a decade, it’s been a real pleasure to see the things that the tourists queue for hours to witness, with the Changing the Guard ceremony being one of them. When you live in a city, it’s a shame that you often overlook what happens right in front of you. Thankfully the combination of beautiful weather and the need to cover the tourist angle has resulted in me being able to wander around in the sunshine, shooting whatever catches my eye. Bliss.

Now, back to writing about the main event…

10 Responses to “Never mind the barracks”

  1. Great set of pictures and full marks for the title ..classic

    Posted by Paul thurlow
  2. Great shots, I find this kind of behind the scenes thing more interesting than the main event, especially in this case. Love the shot of the guard in the mirror.

    Posted by Miles
  3. Stunning images as usual Leon, really inspirational stuff and a great read.

    Posted by Mark McLoughlin
  4. Question is, Leon, where are you going to be on the big day?
    Good luck if you are covering it.

    Posted by Nic
  5. @Nic I am indeed. I’m on the stress-free Queen Victoria Memorial where I have nothing but the timeless image of the Royal Kiss on the balcony to capture. No pressure then… *gulp*

    @Mark Cheers bud. Always happy to entertain!

    @Miles Good call. That’s one of my favourites too. :)

    @Paul I had to check to make sure that I hadn’t used it before actually!

    Posted by tabascokid
  6. no pressure with the balcony kiss!!!!! , Tesco are committed to selling mugs with the first kiss 60 minutes after it happening, so i read in the Telegraph. Good Luck and we are all waiting for a LN classic on the front pages.

    Posted by Paul thurlow
  7. Blimey! “Get ‘em while they’re hot! Muzzy out of focus wedding mugs!”

    Posted by tabascokid
  8. Great work as always Leon, I always enjoy the insight! Couldn’t agree more about working around the tele cameramen(women).

    Posted by Daniel Brennan
  9. @Daniel – Cheers. A lot of the time, there aren’t any problems but when time is limited, it can get truly annoying!

    @Ni – Cheers for the heads-up! Always a pleasure to get on there. :)

    Posted by tabascokid

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