Clive Brunskill is a Getty Images Sports Photographer. He has shot many stars on the tennis court including Novak Djokovic, who he first shot as a young talent in Paris. Clive has covered six Summer Olympic Games, five Winter Olympic Games, three FIFA World Cup Finals and over 50 Grand Slam tennis events but never a wedding.
Clive was proud to be asked by Novak and his fiance, Jelena to photograph their wedding for a world exclusive with Hello Magazine. He relates his experience working outside his comfort zone…
“I’ve known Novak & Jelena for a good few years now. I first met Novak as an up and coming 17 year old. In November 2005 I was asked by a London Times writer in Paris at the Bercy ATP Masters if I could shoot a few pictures for an article they were writing about this young player on the tour.
A couple of years on and after quite a few editorial and commercial shoots together, I was in Monte Carlo shooting Novak for his then PR manager Benito Perez Barbadillo – who is currently Rafael Nadal’s PR agent. It was 2007 and I was going to shoot Novak underwater at the brand new Monte Carlo Bay Hotel. It was during this shoot I was first introduced to Novak’s girlfriend and future wife Jelena Ristic who was accompanying him to the shoot.
Over the next three years I worked with Novak on many occasions shooting ATP ad campaigns amongst other assignments. In 2011 I was asked by Barbadillo to come up with some exciting ideas for a shoot we had planned for early March in the Californian desert. I decided to shoot him as a gladiator in full costume and also in a retake of the famous James Dean photograph in leathers on a motorbike. Lucky for me, Novak went on to win the Indian Wells tournament and on to one of the most successful years any player has ever achieved in the modern game. I followed this shoot up with an idea to shoot Novak with Jelena at Stoke Park that summer before Wimbledon, incredibly Novak also went on to win his first Wimbledon and become World Number One for the first time!
It was a great honour that, following their engagement, they both choose me to photograph their big day. I had not photographed a wedding before in my 32 years as a professional photographer but I didn’t have a second thought. I was outside my comfort zone as a photographer but as they are both such nice people and are so easy to work with, getting great pictures of them is not too difficult a task!
Now looking back I’m so pleased that I decided to shoot the wedding in Montenegro. It was one of the best and most fun assignments I’ve ever photographed. I remember the day before travelling to Montenegro so well. It was Sunday 6th July and the date of the Wimbledon men’s singles final between Novak and Roger Federer. It was a five set thriller, one of the greatest grand slam finals I’ve ever seen and I clearly remember being so nervous as I knew a Novak victory would set the mood for the wedding. I’m glad to say he won in a long five sets and also snatched the World Number One spot off Spain’s Rafael Nadal in the process!
The wedding was shot over three days. A pre-wedding and Wimbledon victory celebration cocktail party followed by the wedding the next day. The third day was a very private family service at a beautiful old chapel on the island of Sveti Stefan in Montenegro. I used my normal team of producer Louis de ville Morel, assistant and additional photographer Joe Scarnici and lighting digital assistant Patrick Elmont, plus two local producer assistants on the ground in Montenegro. The weather was going to play a big part in how the end images were going to look and the outlook was quite bad after weeks of beautiful weather. But we got lucky on the eve of the wedding. At the outdoor cocktail party the evening turned out to be glorious. I always will remember how fantastic the Serbian music that everyone danced to was.
On the morning of the wedding I looked out the hotel window and could hardly see across the bay for the driving heavy rain. I headed to the villa where Novak & Jelena were staying with little confidence knowing I was in need of a miracle! I spent the morning with Jelena as she got ready for the big day. As we left the room and she took her father’s hand, it looked like the heavens were ready to open in a torrential Adriatic downpour! They started the service and as they read their vows to each other there were massive claps of thunder. I remember thinking the photos will look terrible if we shoot them in the reception tent after having one of the most stunning backdrops available outside.
The service finished and we quickly shot the group shots. We were shooting exclusively for Hello magazine and these images are very important to their coverage. As we walked to the beach to shoot the first of the specials for the cover of Hello magazine the sun popped through the clouds. It was like a miracle! We shot all four locations as quickly as possible bearing in mind I did not want to rush or stress out Jelena as she is five months pregnant. We managed with the help of the fantastic team I had with me to shoot everything we needed. As we finished the last shots and walked over to shoot the evening reception, the sky went black and the heavens opened. I just remember the relief I felt! It was an incredible feeling that we had succeeded in what we wanted to achieve.
The day after, I sat down with the happy couple as they chose their favorite images from the previous two days. Hello magazine were going to print with a cover and 23 pages inside. Novak & Jelena appeared very happy with all our hard work!
On the Saturday morning we had weather that was almost too hot! A complete contrast from the wedding day two days earlier.
This day went very well and I managed to shoot inside the chapel that made some fabulous and different images.
We ended up shooting a grand total of 5,784 images over the three days of which 458 images were approved by Novak and Jelena as a world exclusive for Hello magazine and then for other global publications. Novak, Jelena and their families were amazing to my team and me throughout the week. I’m so happy for them that over the three days their wedding celebrations went so perfectly.
About Clive Brunskill
Clive Brunskill’s passion for photography began at the age of 13, when he started taking pictures at the local skate parks and football matches. His career in sports photography officially began in 1982, after graduating from Southport College of Art and Design in England, when, in 1993, he became a photographer with Allsport, now part of Getty Images.
As a sports photographer with a proven pedigree in capturing the world’s most significant sporting events, Clive has covered 6 Summer Olympic Games, 5 Winter Olympic Games, 3 FIFA World Cup Finals and over 50 Grand Slam tennis events. His work has been published in major publications in over 50 countries, including Time Magazine and Sports Illustrated, in addition to many of the world’s leading international newspapers.
Since 1997, Clive has taken his skills and expertise in shooting sports personalities to the world of commercial advertising and has been commissioned to shoot a number of high profile advertising campaigns for major global brands, including Pepsi-Cola, who he has worked with for over thirteen years, Adidas, Prince, Gillette, Nike and Gatorade.
Clive has also been commissioned to shoot some of the world’s biggest global sports figures and stars, including David Beckham, Lionel Messi, Fernando Torres, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, Beyonce, Britney Spears, Pink, Jennifer Lopez, Eva Longoria & Hugh Jackman.
Clive thrives under pressure and the challenge of producing compelling imagery within restrictive deadlines. His work demonstrates his ability to shoot from a different angle and his established rapport with many of the world’s top sporting figures, along with numerous long-standing relationships with clients, has enabled Clive to become a leading commercial sports photographer.
Clive has won numerous awards, including ‘International Tennis Photographer of the Year’ on three occasions. He is also a three-time winner of the ‘UK Sports Photographer of the Year’ and has been highly commended in the World Press Photo Awards.