For a man who had no intention of pursuing a career as a photographer, award-winning snapper Jay Doherty, from Ballykelly, has certainly done well for himself.
The 39-year-old County Derry man has just been crowned the NI Wedding Photographer of the Year.
In addition to clinching the top spot at the Professional Photographers Association of Northern Ireland (PPANI) awards 2016, the former Limavady Grammar Student also walked away with the title of Contemporary Wedding Photographer of the Year, Documentary Wedding Photographer of the Year, LPPANI Wedding photographer of the Year and overall NI Wedding Photographer of the Year.
Ironically, Jay said he never set out with a career in photography in mind. His dad, Tommy, was a keen photographer when Jay was growing up but Jay said he never felt compelled to get behind the lens.
However, that changed when he was asked by a friend about eight years ago if he would capture his uncle’s wedding on camera.
“I had no intention of doing weddings but, after that, I just took to it,” explains Jay.
Jay, who now lives in Muff in County Donegal, says his job doesn’t feel like work.
“It’s a great way to unleash your creativity. You get to meet amazing people and become part of the family for a day. You have all that happiness and you get mixed up in all those emotions.”
Workings 60-hour weeks is all part of the job, but it’s worth it, says Jay.
“You witness so much and it’s magic. There are the tears, the elation, people reminiscing about their childhood, all of it. They open their front doors and let you in on one of the biggest days of their lives.
“It is a lot of hard work, but it’s never work if you’re doing something you love,” said Jay.
Asked how he would describe his work, Jay said: “Radical - trying to push the boundaries and be the best version of yourself that you can be.
“I suppose it’s trying to flip wedding photography on its head and doing something different.”
When asked if he had experienced any challenges along the way, Jay said: “I’m well versed in rough Irish weather, but it hasn’t held me back!”
Jay said he was delighted with the four awards as were all the couples he photographed on their big day.
“It has been a privilege, and I am so grateful to all the brides and grooms who have allowed me in, and given me free reign to document their big day,” added Jay.