Reuben Shaul goes to A LOT of weddings. But you won’t often see him as a guest. Rueben is the guy behind the lens at Eight Bells Wedding Imagery; he spends his time capturing the happiest days of people’s lives as they tie the knot in Morzine and across Europe. But how did he get to where he is today? Here’s Reuben’s story:
“I was born in Eilat on the Red Sea in Israel. Growing up I didn’t ever consider a career in photography; I was interested in engineering and also action sports, but I never quite linked the two things together.
That all changed after doing a season in Wanaka, New Zealand. I loved the vibe in the mountains and many people I met talked about Morzine and Les Gets. When I returned to Israel to begin a degree in mechanical engineering, I hoped that it would be my ticket to a job in the mountains.
In 2011 I came to Morzine for the first time to ride bikes for the summer. Around the same time I said to myself ‘buy a camera’. That summer I discovered that MTB isn’t for me; instead I spent time photographing my friends on the trails. I was pretty impressed by my growing portfolio and when I returned home to Israel I wrote an article, included my images and send them to one of the top mountain biking magazines. It was published and at that moment I thought to myself ‘this is going to work’. I picked up several jobs photographing MTB World Cups and my images were published in the bible that is Dirt Magazine.
I finished University, didn’t get the first job I applied for and so quickly decided that photography was a better plan. There aren’t many opportunities to make a living from mountain sports photography in Israel so I turned my hand to wedding photography instead.
My fulfillment as a wedding photographer comes from what I give back. This realisation defines what I do. I’ve developed an unobstructive style that captures images, which will forever remain authentic, and moving for each couple I work with. I met my wife Polly while working as a photographer at a wedding – she was shooting the wedding video and we married in Morzine last summer.
Polly and I now live year-round in Morzine, we’ve made the valley our home. It’s a joy to work with so many couples who have decided to plan the most important day of their lives in the mountains. I subtly go about my work to capture the story as it unfolds before me. I draw on the six years I’ve spent exploring the artistic possibilities of the mountains, with their changing light and weather patterns, to record the raw emotions and spontaneous moments that make each wedding story so individual and precious.
The sun failed to make an appearance on our wedding day. The beautiful summer gardens of The Farmhouse Hotel were dark and atmospheric as we prepared to say ‘I do’ in front of friends and family, many of who had travelled from across the globe to be with us. As I explain to my clients, ‘this is the Alps, we have to accept the weather!’ Every hour is different in the mountains; we can move from clear, sunny skies to a thunderstorm in just one hour!
Although action sports photography is what brought me back to the mountains after that first visit, wedding photography is where my heart really lies. I love to get connected to a story; I now feel that other types of photography have less of a story for me. Also, with a wedding, there’s no real staging; we watch a story unfold and we capture the excitement. These are memories that will last forever.
Documenting people and their stories are what makes Polly and I tick. We feel very blessed to do what we love for a living.”