Evocative, intimate and wildly romantic, Alli Oughtred’s inimitable aesthetic is redefining the art of wedding photography. In an industry awash with overly composed imagery, Alli’s imagery provides a most refreshing elixir, encapsulating the rawest most ephemeral of moments with a stirring sense of honesty.
Taking a candid approach with an eye for authentic detail, Allie’s images dance with uninhibited beauty, flowing with feeling and uncontrived appeal. A master of mood, light and shadow, she intuitively blends an editorial eye with a romantic comprehension of emotion, conjuring frames both rare and revitalizing. Pushing boundaries, bending rules and disrupting stagnant traditions – with Alli, regimen and cliché are hastily swept aside, making way for pure magic you only wish you could dream up yourself.
“I started a journey of educating myself on all the embodiment techniques taught through the ages. I am working really, really hard at this and it’s having a profound effect on how I experience art. I think I see differently now because I am feeling more.”
A wild soul, a dreamer and unapologetic optimist, Alli’s infectious energy and open mindset bring something wholly new to the table. Wearing her heart on her sleeve, Alli’s unguarded nature translates so effortlessly into her work, allowing her to capture the very essence of a person, place or fleeting moment in time. For this reason, she’s flown to far-flung places, capturing weddings and creating magic from Melbourne to Europe and everywhere in between.
We sit down with Alli to discover what lies behind her emotive captures.
What is something you’ve discovered this year?
This year I discovered, that I will die one day. You see, my Dad died, and the experience of his last breaths changed my life in ways I was not prepared for. He waited for me to come back into the room, and without a thinking mind consciousness, he still kinda…gave me the moment…as he knew how much I wanted to see it. He even opened his eyes. He died with me yelling, “Holy fuck Dad, this is fucking amazing, thank you so much”. I was so grateful to be present and really in the moment with him, not caught up in sadness, to really be there with him. That intimacy, it was actually the best experience of my life. It set forth a whole new way of being and of wanting to be present and intimate for all of my life, even the stuff that maybe my mind says, “This should not be this way”. So I started a journey of educating myself on all the embodiment techniques taught through the ages. I am working really, really hard at this and it’s having a profound effect on how I experience art. I think I see differently now because I am feeling more.
“What you want wants you, notice how you FEEL when looking at someone’s folio. You might not identify culturally with the subject matter, however, energy is universal.”
The key to an emotive frame for you is?
Being receptive to the unfolding present, without my own agenda. Some people like some emotions better than others, like for example we have a certain cultural bias towards the emotions we expect to see at a wedding. Because of my journey, I am pretty open to things. So with my camera, there’s not much that happens that would phase me. I want to photograph more open people, more artists, they are so fascinating to me how they process the world.
What should brides look for when choosing their wedding photographer?
Brides who are artists will know immediately who is for them. They know to look for the real and unstaged stuff. So much stuff is set up as unstaged in the bridal world, but it is staged. What you want wants you, notice how you FEEL when looking at someone’s folio. You might not identify culturally with the subject matter, however, energy is universal. The fact that Gwenyth Paltrow just chose John Dolan and the world’s greatest female war photojournalist to shoot her wedding…for me, that says it all.
A moment behind an image you’ll never forget…
I wish I could show you a picture I took of my Dad after he died. But your readers did not ask for that, so I’ll save that for another medium. So I’ll tell you about the time in Capri shooting a campaign this summer, I introduced the model to some of the embodiment exercises I learnt, and we all ended up crying our eyes out at the healing energy that arose.
Tell us more about your current studies around the concept of ‘embodiment’ – what inspired you to learn more about this? How does it impact on your work and your clients?
Embodiment training has affected my work in that when I look at art that moves me, I can now see that that actor is viscerally feeling something and the energy is on its way to grounding. It’s more internal and less presentation. So on set, I set up a kind of mise-en-scene where the model is an actress, and we use acting techniques for her to feel the different energies that arise. Trying to get anyone to feel anything that the mood board, client or someone else on set thinks they should be feeling, is not welcome on my sets anymore. My clients are feeling more loved and safe. The work is much more of changing our visual culture of what we expect from women, and just being a process for coming home to ourselves.
Who are the photographers, creatives, and artists that inspire you? Is there a common link between them all?
I was really inspired by Luca Guadagnino and Call Me by Your Name. A Bigger Splash was brilliant. Then for him to make that and to see we have a director that allows actors and the art to linger on the emotion, and to feel it through without cutting away. Wow, really healing. I’m excited about great artists; Kanye, Lady Gaga, Rick Rubin, Timothée Chalamet, Marina Abromović, Patricia Piccinini.
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