50 years of wedding photo negatives revealed

HIS career has focused on thousands of couples whose precious wedding pictures are a snapshot of Norfolk life, spanning generations.

Blushing brides and suited-and-booted bridegrooms have embraced amid a shower of confetti in countless images, some of them enlarged on living room walls, others forgotten in dusty albums.

Legendary lensman Brian Ollington chronicled life in Great Yarmouth for almost 50 years taking pictures of all kinds of activity - but was most admired for his wedding shots, always on film and the best they could be.

Since setting up the business in Gorleston High Street in 1963 he has diligently stored every single negative in dozens of boxes creating a forgotten treasure trove of family memories.

And now to mark 50 golden years of having his finger on the button he is keen to reunite them with their owners taking the kind of diligent trouble and solicitude that made his name.

Jon Wedon, whose photographer father Robert worked with Brian from 1965 and passed his talent on to his son, said the negatives had been kept in perfect order and could be cross-referenced with original diary entries which would indicate a box number.

The collection begins in the black-and-white era switching to colour in 1973 and taking in the 70s and 80s heyday when they regularly covered up to ten weddings a day racing from Beccles to Norwich to Yarmouth.

Most Read

Mr Wedon, 32, who has taken up the reins since the Ollington shop shut in 2008 with his own wedding photography business, said Mr Ollington, his father and Stephen Bellward prided themselves on excellence producing traditional albums for families to cherish.

In those days a couple could choose around 50 images - compared to around 200 today - that would become the everlasting record of their big day, the unselected images existing only in negative and probably never seen by family or friends.

Now, in the digital age, with the shop shut and all copyright waived, anyone who was reunited with their negatives could reproduce them in all sorts of unlimited ways which were not available in the old days, including sharing them on social networking sites.

Mr Ollington said the pictures were taken on professional sized film that gave high quality results.

He was delighted Jon Wedon was taking up the occupation and was keen to give him a leg up rather than benefit from any sales himself.

In the 70s and 80s many couples could not afford many reprints and recently a husband surprised his wife with a wedding alblum for their silver anniversary.

Mr Wedon said: “They are such an important piece of family history. The digital era changed everything.”

He said there were potentially 100 pictures from each wedding, although only a few dozen may have been printed at the time.

Already through his own website which is linked to Brian Ollington’s he has had many inquiries most recently helping a lady find a picture of a relative who had died but was snapped at a family wedding in 1988.

The whole era was steeped in nostalgia for everyone who worked at Ollingtons, particularly Robert Wedon and Stephen Bellward who took over the business for its last five years, and for whom it was always a privilege to witness so many matches.

“Now it is time to tie up loose ends and make sure everything is finished off nicely,” Mr Wedon added.

Giving a name and wedding date should be enough to reconnect couples with their negatives for a charge of �20. For more information contact enquiries@wedonsweddingphotography.co.uk or call Jon Wedon on 07765 941727.