Category: Asian Couples
It all started with “My partner and I are from Hong Kong and we will visit Spain in October, we would like to have a pre-wedding session in Seville“. That email was followed by about 50 more in which Edmund and me prepared every detail of that session in which the central moment was the surprise proposal in Plaza de España.
It is impossible to describe in a few lines what has meant for me, on a personal and photographic level, the experience of photographing and sharing with Ed and Wini, not only their wedding, but the days we spent together in Hong Kong.
Everything was so new, so different, so exciting that on the day of the wedding I woke up ready for action at 2 o’clock in the morning. Even though the night before we were up late with the couple’s families drinking beer, eating “winter dumpligs” and teaching each other basic Spanish-Chinese vocabulary. So much fun!
The traditional Chinese ceremony begins with the groom and his “groomsmen”, trying to access the room of the bride. There, their bridesmaids prevent them from passing unless they prove themselves worthy by overcoming a series of “tests.” Once the worth of the men has been demonstrated (and their dignity lost along the way) the couple meet and proceed to the tea ceremony, in which they show their respect and gratitude to their closest relatives. The “red envelopes” are exchanged, the bride is given gold bracelets with phoenix and dragon engravings (traditionally symbols that only princesses could use), as well as a necklace with a pig female breast feeding piglets as a symbol of fertility.
Everything happens very fast and there are dozens of symbols and traditions, so much so that you get to feel overwhelmed. You end up letting yourself be carried away and flow with the sensations and the moment, following your own instinct to guess what is happening and how to photograph it in the best possible way amid so much chaos.
If all this is already complex, add that my role in the wedding was half photographer, half “groomsman” in a way that alternated my place in front of and behind the camera. An absolute and hilarious madness.
After the traditional Chinese ceremony we went to the church for the Catholic ceremony. The truth is that it has its exotic point to see a European-style church in the middle of a Chinese city, and document a ceremony similar to those we photographed in Spain … but on the other side of the planet.
Both the wedding and the following days that we lived together with my dearest Ed and Wini were an experience I will never forget. I will be eternally grateful, not only to Ed and Wini but also to their families and friends, for making us feel at home.
New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothing you can’t do
Now you’re in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Hear it for New York
I was happily surprised that I was asked to be their wedding photographer, and even more surprised when they asked me a couple session in New York City, their new place of residence.
Being a witness of their love is like watching a Hollywood movie, the kind of movie that you see with tissues in one hand and an ice cream in the other. Not a sad story but a romantic one, the kind that touches your heart. A true love that has lived on three different countries and three dreamy locations. A couple generous in kisses, caresses and laughs. Love is love, but also the city lights give some inspiration.
Thanks to this photo session I have discovered a couple of things.
NYC is an overwhelming city. It suddenly beats you in your face and knocks you down. The buildings, the traffic, the crowds of people coming and going… One could think that New Yorkers are unfriendly, but actually both NYC and the New Yorkers warmly welcome everyone there. The best way to enjoy the city is to flow, forget about your prejudices, walking with expectant eyes and your camera ready.
The other thing I have learnt is that photographing love and happiness is the same no matter where you are.
From Central Park to Times Square, this city is full of charming spots and it is a great destination for a romantic photo session. I fell in love with Brooklyn Bridge: its architecture, beauty and charm are awesome make it the perfect location to enjoy with the one that you love. We ended the day savoring the sunset, the lights and the reflections on the buildings.
Here is the first year of Lepus & Arnaud’s marriage, and their first story in NYC.
Hear it for New York.
Sometimes you get to connect deeply with someone in just a few hours, despite the distance, despite the language, despite cultural differences.
I can say that this pre-wedding in Seville has been one of the most carefully prepared that I have ever photographed. It started as a simple portrait session but it evolved into a surprising marriage proposal: e-mails flew from Madrid to Hong Kong preparing the day’s logistics, looking for the best way to transport the cloud of helium balloons where the ring would be hidden; choosing how to make the dresses perfectly arranged for the photo session and a dozen more details.
Meanwhile, I was getting to know Ed little by little: I loved his attention to detail to make this experience unforgettable.
The session in Seville could not be better: the scenes were happening while we talked as both about the history and the food of Spain and the traditions and the political situation of Hong Kong. While walking around Plaza de España I found the ideal place for the proposal (it is difficult to find an intimate spot in such a tourist place), Ed and I crossed a glance and nodded slightly: the moment had arrived.
Ed knelt, his trembling hand took the ring and slid it on Winifred’s finger. For a moment the time seemed to stop: it was just the two of them.
We ended the day sharing a table in a small tavern and our farewell wasn’t a “goodbye” but a “see you soon”: we will meet again in Hong Kong to share (and photograph) the happiness of their wedding.
To be continued…
This year I started the season in a very special way: with a destination wedding in France, at the charming Ile d’Oleron.
Lepus and Arnaud hired me for a pre-wedding session in Seville in mid-March, and when I sent a preview of the pictures his response was “are you available for our wedding in France?” 🙂
We enjoyed a great weekend on the beautiful Island of Oleron, which is full of small fishing villages where you can taste some delicious oysters with a good wine.
The getting ready took place in a beautiful guest house full of antiques and oriental details (I do not know whether they were already there or the owner put them to honor the couple). I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere … even Lepus helped Arnaud to get dressed (something rare in Spain).
The ceremony was officiated by the mother of Arnaud herself! How many grooms can say that his mother married them? Lovely!
During the portrait session an Atlantic cold wind blew, but Lepus always held with a great smile.
The reception followed with funny speeches, slideshows, delivering gifts and even an exhibition of kung-fu. DJ Paul put the icing on the cake: his lighting and the music selection made a legendary party.
However, for me the best part of the wedding was the lovely connection between Arnaud and Lepus, their good humor and the way they show the love for each other.
We shot this pre-wedding in Seville on the eve of Holy Week, so we decided to start very early in the morning to avoid having the streets and locations filled with tourists.
Arnaud and Lepus were in a very good humor and joy throughout the day, although hair and makeup started at 5 in the morning. After some photographs around the Puente de Triana I took the opportunity to show them a “typical Spanish” breakfast: chocolate with churros and porras.
With renewed energy we marched to the Santa Cruz streets and the Alcazar, where we could barely dodge the groups of visitors who constantly approached the couple to photograph them with their brand-new-next-generation-mobile . Some appeared to have never seen a wedding dressed couple.
It was about noon when we finished the session in Plaza de Spain, with our feet tired but happy heart. When we parted I could not imagine that two days later they would ask me to be their wedding photographer in France.
À bientôt | 不久.
Jignesh contacted me a few weeks ago to ask me if I would photograph a very special moment: his marriage proposal in Seville.
I felt like half a paparazzi, half a FBI agent y agente del FBI tracking a “target” for photographing a unique moment between two people I haven’t met before. I just had an estimated time and place (The Real Alcazar, one of the most tourist sights of Seville).
I first met Natasha’s sisters, which were accomplices and links of Jignesh in Spain. I watched the coupled from a distance to go unnoticed among the tourists, which I had to avoid to not show up within the frame in the “decisive moment”.
Luckily, she said “yes”.
One of the things that I like to be a wedding photographer is the posibility to meet all kinds of people. Different cultures, different habits but a common denominator: love.
Heidi loves flamenco and every time they travel to Spain their destination is the south, so they decided to make their engagement session in Seville. It was a pleasure to see them laugh constantly and share with them a journey that ended in a traditional tavern in Triana, where they discovered jewels of spanish gastronomy as chickpeas with prawns and bull tail.
A passionate, funny couple, involved to make the session an unforgettable experience. I do hope our paths cross again someday.