[Photo Essay] My cousin's Indian wedding
This summer I am in India, to attend my cousin sister's wedding. It was a great celebration. I happily took my Fujifilm X-E1 with me to capture the subtleties of the wedding that I see often missed out in professional wedding photography. The weddings are about the people in it. It is about their hard-work that brings centuries old complex traditions and rituals into the modern realm. It is about the bride. Her role in this traditional yet liminal space. The modern Indian bride is a brave human being. This photo essay captures the many things that happen around and inside the great marriage ritual.
In terms of photographic technique, I am appropriating street photography to wedding photography. Should these be different ? That is a larger discussion, I intend to have with curious fellow readers.
Celebrations are about meeting family. The first things families do is embarrass you. They ask you, things you wish you had answers for. Multiple context collide. But the question remains, "When are you getting married ?"
Several families and generations meet each other. They have things to talk to each other. They are busy. Their words have been like a river stopped by separation. Now, they flow.
Several toddlers meet cousins they did not knew about. Now they know each other, they have new friends to mischief with. And what a better occasion for mischief.
Stories are told about what happened, what might happen, what should happen. All this happens with expressions that are truly captivating.
Sometimes they laugh so hard, that they start crying.
Some individuals do stand out. The bride's parents are working hard to make sure all rituals are followed correctly. The rituals promise great fortune and success to the marriage. Parents are sacrificing beings in the Indian society. They sacrifice their short term happiness for the long term prosperity of their kids. Today is the day when everything comes together.
The bride's father tries to make sure the guest are comfortable. He is the one whose societal duty is to make sure his daughter is married and with all the love he can give her.
The elder sister, having done it for her, is the project manager. She orchestrates the marriage and makes sure things are in control. She is often on the phone fixing appointments with a plethora of people like photographers, make-up professionals, cab drivers, venue services among many others.
Then finally she does get sometime to eat and ponder on what is next.
The elders are present to see this grand miracle of life. How someone has grown old and responsible. They are proud of their work in raising this family. They are happy on this day.
The centre of this all is the bride. She brings all this with her. She is the reason everyone has this privilege of communion.
Today she is the celebrity. The centre of this grand ritual.
Her relatives celebrate her transition into a new phase of life. Showering their blessing and pacing around her in circles.
She accepts their blessing and respect with grace.
They ornament her so she can be the best she has always been. This is her special day. This is her day.
Everyone loves her. She has their unconditional support and care forward.
The marriage day is much more organised. The groom's family is welcomed into this nice cocoon of familial warmth with garlands and hugs.
The bride is ready to rock the show. She is a bit shy though but promised me she will wing it.
The rings have been exchanged. They are together now. The union has been sealed.
Today's celebrities. The paparazzis are here to capture their moves. These moves shall evoke nostalgia for times to come.
Wait, someone who could not be here, is zooming into the festivities to give their blessings to the couple.
A long round of chantings and prayers in the presence of the elders and the fire god follows. All the gods have been informed about this union. The priest or pandit helps the family in this ritual.
Meanwhile, the attendees are busy relishing a great selection of delicacies from around the world served by hardworking cooks from around the country.
Then it all comes to the end. Smiles everywhere. The bride can now be with the groom. They are happy and excited to start a new life together away from their families. The birds have left the nest.
Side Note: There are not enough pictures from the wedding as I was quite involved in the ceremonies.