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Have you heard of Asylum? It’s this incredibly unique space in London, in fact I can’t think of anywhere else like it, where couples can marry amidst the crumbling walls and magic of ruins (perfectly safe ruins!!). If you’re a fan of the dramatic and the edgy, you will just love Asylum.

I saw, and was bowled over by, some of the photos from this shoot on Facebook, and contacted photographer Heather from Brighton Photo on the spot, so keen I was to get this on the blog at once. And I was over the moon when it turned out it was a collaboration with Mr & Mrs Unique, one of my absolute favourite wedding blogs! And, the list of suppliers is like a ‘who’s who’ of my favourites, too. And the style of photography is inspired by Caravaggio (I love my art)! All in all, a styled shoot win!

This is one killer set of images, marrying (sorry) the glamour of the Baroque era with the romance of decay, and creating in that fusion of opposites something dreamlike and sublime.

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“I’d been speaking with Heather from Brighton Photo for a while about creating a Mr & Mrs Unique Photo shoot together, then an email hit my inbox. It was from Heather saying she’d found a venue that she would like to work with and was it of interest to me.

“The venue in question was Asylum, Caroline Gardens Chapel in Peckham, London. The Chapel, despite being called Asylum, was never a home for lunatics, but it actually was a ‘sanctuary’ (old folks’ home) for retired pub landlords!

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“With its crumbling interior walls and stained glass windows, it offered a real theatrical feel; I was so excited to jump on board with the project.

“Immediately, it was discussed that a Baroque theme would suit the venue, so I set about creating a mood board that would inspire the suppliers that would work on this photo shoot. I was keen to soften the Baroque vibe slightly – bring in colours of soft pink and gold to create a more bridal feel, something our readers would relate to.

“I feel blessed with all the suppliers that took part, who really pushed the boundaries and created a beautiful photo shoot. It was a really fun day.”

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“It’s funny how ideas come together. Having moved back to London and looking into the south east London art scene in and around Peckham and New Cross, I stumbled across Asylum as an exhibition space and thought ‘OMG this place would be amazing for weddings!’ Then I realised that they had indeed started hiring the space for weddings and knew I needed to photograph in there. At a similar time, an artist friend of mine was working on Baroque-influenced street art, and I thought ‘that’s it, the idea!’ So Erica and I started to share ideas and imagery on Pinterest, and Erica invited an eclectic and wonderfully talented unique bunch of suppliers to bring the Baroque vision together.

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“To photograph and light the shoot, building on the Baroque style, I wanted to light the subjects referencing italian Baroque painter Caravaggio. Caravaggio used intense illumination in his painting, and seemed to almost turn a spotlight on his figures with dark shadows using a single light source. The high contrast in his paintings made them intensely powerful and dramatic, which is what I wanted to emanate in the photographs.

“Asylum is the perfect photography backdrop with crumbling walls of derelict beauty and atmospheric lighting filtering thought the beautiful original stained glass windows. It’s like a total surprise; a hidden gem just off the Old Kent Road. Space-wise it’s huge, and Jo and Dido who run Asylum are so accommodating and flexible to work with, which it is simply wonderful, and if you’re looking for a unique venue that will surprise and delight your guests, then go and see it!”

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Venue – Asylum, Caroline Gardens Chapel in Peckham, London
Art direction & photography – Heather Shuker for Brighton Photo
Styling & co-ordination – Erica from Mr & Mrs Unique
Photography assisted by – Roberto Zampino & Emily Hocking
Dresses – Wilden Bride & Federica Bruno
Hair – Jo from Lovehair
Flowers – The Vintage Floral Design Co.
Make-up – Zoe Cornwell Make-up Artist
Jewellery – Rosie Weisencrantz
Millinery – La Dame au Beret
Table styling – Curious Fair
Glassware – Hélène Millot Furnishings
Pink Cake – Nevie-Pie Cakes
Cupcakes – Frenchmade
Furniture – Polliander
Gold confetti – Country Vintage Floral

All the Pictures