The rule-breaking, friend-making utterly selfless duo behind Bayly & Moore took some time out to do what they do best; share their wisdom and kindness.
Si & Soph, aka Bayly & Moore are true artists, they care deeply about the wedding industry and supporting all those within it. They have been huge advocates of Together Journal, in fact they were the very first people to know about the magazine when it was still only at concept stage.
We could not imagine the wedding landscape without these two in it. They play such a big part, not only here in New Zealand but on a global scale. Their work is incredible and they have been instrumental in pushing wedding photography and weddings in general to a higher level of creativity and significance.
Before you dive into the interview we encourage you to watch this short video clip, which will give you some insight into what drives these two wonderful people.
1. How has the recent landscape changed for you business-wise over the past two weeks?
(Insert ironic LOL here) TO continue with the landscape metaphor, I’d say it’s like discovering an open-cast iron-ore mine has appeared in your favourite dog-walking park overnight. Literally ripped the earth open on front of you and you’re left teetering on the edge with fido on his leash going “Heeeeey guys… you can’t… do… that….”
But seriously, we’ve been tracking this thing for a month like a slow-moving freight train and realising that it was gonna be a problem for our northern hemisphere wedding season. And then hearing from our couples as they had overseas guests cancelling. And then we had overseas couples cancelling. And then we were social distancing at weddings. And then weddgins were at half-strength with loads of empty places at tables. And then people were interrogating guests with accents to make sure they hadn’t just arrived in the country. And then we were shooting weddings on long lenses standing as far apart as we could. And then we were in lockdown.
Hard to believe that we shot two wonderful weddings under trying circumstances last weekend, and this weekend we were inside locked down in a national State of Emergency. But we’re very thankful for the action our rather brilliant government is taking, regardless of how hard it feels. The last two weddings we shot were when everyone realised how potentially dangerous it was to be gathering together and we were being super careful but nervous AF,so when the shutdown announcement came we felt a huge sense of relief.
On the business end of things, our late-summer/autumn weddings are all cancelled or postponed (depending on circumstances) and our European and US weddings are postponed for a year or so. EVeryone’s trying to find some certainty they can work to with their timeframe and so going long seems to be the safest option.
2. What pro-active things are you doing at this time business-wise?
We have plenty of editing to do and loads of things on the boil so it’s a good time to be locked in on that front. We’ve been in this game for over ten years and we’ve seen a lotta stuff (although ‘Global Pandemic’ is definitely a new one) and we’ve learnt to never panic and just look at what’s in front of you and deal with it. We’re doing loads of communicating with couples right now, trying to help them navigate the minefield of postponing things – especially in the US where there’s a very mixed response to the seriousness of things. Lots of podcast interviews, a bunch of online mentor sessions, and all the normal ‘to-do’ list things like updating website stuff.
We’re also putting some time into re-imagining what the next 12 months looks like for our industry and how we change our messaging and approach, and how we do it all with empathy.
3. Personally, what pro-active things are you doing at this time to stay happy?
We have a big photo book and record collection that sustains us and means we can have a rich off-line life. At times like this the internet is a bit of a frenemy – useful to keep you connected, but full of toxic baggage at the same time – so we’re picking the ways we stay connected to our crew and avoiding everything else. Currently ripping through some old classic jazz records while devouring Richard Avedon’s ‘Portraits and Murals’ photo book from a key time in the upheaval of 60’s and 70’s protest movement stuff in the US. It’s a nice way to remember that crazy times always come to some sort of conclusion.
We’ve also been workin’ on a lil PDF ‘zine (straight outta the 90’s) made-up of conversations with some of our friends about how they deal with learning new things, change, and all of the skills you need to navigate tricky times like these. It’s been a wonderful experience to have a good reason to tap into a stream of good advice and pass it on. To read and download the zines visit this link
4. How are your wedding couples feeling and what are they saying to you?
It’s like a stream of consciousness of a thousand WTF’s. Early on in the g ame we saw a lot of couple shang on til the last minute because they just weren’t equipped with the tools to figure out how to cancel or postpone a once-in-a-lifetime gathering of a coupla hundred people, but as it became socially acceptable to postpone – and then socially expected – it became easier. We fielded a LOT of ‘Hey, any ideas what we should do?’ calls and emails and our advice was to be clear and decisive, not worry about telling people what the Plan B was but just let them know that Plan A was no longer viable because they loved their crew and wanted to keep them safe. The disappointment that someone people felt was deep and heavy, especially if they had difficult family situations or sickness that meant they were trying to make sure fragile loved ones could be there with them, but there’s something about the ‘we’re all in this together’ vibe that lifts your heart in the end.
The biggest thing couples are having to navigate at a practical level is how deposits work if you’re cancelling or re-scheduling. The reality for a lot of couples is that they’ve moved on from being worried about re-scheduling their wedding to now being worried about if they’ll have a job. These are very real and very practical concerns but it’s amazing to see how people in love keep their heads up above it all. One couple said to us that it’s made them realise how absolutely precious all of their crew are to them, even though they’ve missed out on bringing them all together… amazing.
5. Do you have any ideas for the industry in the short term to help cope with this current scenario?
Don’t panic. Deal with what’s currently in front of you and urgent, and then start to look ahead bit by bit. People will have some solid short-term worries like how to deal with a crrazy inbox of worried people, the financial implications for paying the bills this week, refunding deposits next week, finding some empathy in the panic and all of the fall-out, but just move ahead and be decisive one decision at a time.
The next step is to lift your head up, get out of your silo and start to figure out a plan to navigate the next 3/6/12 months. The reasons why we do celebrations and mark once-in-a-lifetime commitments a certain way are long and complicated but every now and then something comes along that drives us out of the rut of doing what our parents did, or our friends, or our neighbours and we go ‘screw it, I don’t care about all this, let’s just damn well do it our own way.’ People in love are magnificent resilient creatures who are very capable of reinventing how they celebrate each other and all the people they love. Things may go back to normal or they may never be the same, but lovers will always gather their people together and celebrate, and we’ll be alongside them helping them to remember it all.
6. Lockdown tips for staying positive?
Internet algorithms are not your friend. Stay in touch with your people but steer clear of scrolling newsfeeds and bottomless news updates – it just doesn’t help. Make this time all about your people, not about content.
If you’re not used to working at home, get a routine, get some territory that’s work-space, and get some other turf that’s hang-out space and don’t mix the two.
Be literate. Read physical things that aren’t on a screen – magazines, books, novels, coffee-table books. Start devouring real stuff.
It’s Autumn, perfect season for propagating house plants we’ve currently got 20+ jars of cuttings sprouting roots all around the house so if you want a Golden Pathos in 2 months time just holler.
Garden like a mad thing. Dig the dirt, prune a tree, weed something, get your hands dirty, get muddy. There’s something about the dirt which makes you feel wonderful and you suddenly care much less about what’s happening on IG stories.
Research and buy a handful of fresh albums. Take back control of your music diet from Spotify and listen to whole records, thrash them into the ground until they become a part of you. This is such a good chance to stop being fed junk and to start feeding yourself a better creative diet. You’ll never go back to algorithms again…
7. Please add anything else you think is relevant.
It’s a perfect time to learn something new – making pasta, water-colour painting, charcoal sketching, developing your own film, learning french, brushing up your Ukulele skills – adding a fresh skill is calming and scratches that very human itch of finding new territory to explore. Whatever it is you take on, repeat after me: “Repetition is Knowledge and Power”. Don’t give up, just keep doin’ it day after day – you’ll be making perfect ravioli in no time.