Thursday, 9 September 2010

Thilak and Ragi- entry three

More of the Thilak and Ragi...


the singing and the audience were intersperesed with faces by families, friends, neighbours..

the mom of the bride looking a little wistful..maybe sad even..that her only daughter is going to live with the groom and not under her roof.

you can feel the intensity of their prayers

the vows, being processed, intertwined with the prayers..

the groom's family..

i think Thilak's mum was a little sad too...

more intent prayer moment

and then..

reading thescripture they chose from the bible

this priest was such a very powerful speaker..he spoke about building foundations in marriage and in the union, and how all marriages would undergo trials, and challenges..

and how all the trials are best overpowered by unity and strength in the couple--which can be done, by having God and prayers as centre of their relationship.

they took in, and laughed, at the funny points of the priest's message

..and listened some more.


more pics..:-)

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Thilak and Ragi- entry two

To continue with Thilak and Ragi's day:

Here are the condensed number of photos from the originally uploaded ones..although i sent ALL the photos to the groom for his perusal, he was too polite not to take anything out.

there is so much nervous tension in the air..both have been friends for some time, and meet up (with their parents around) whenever he is in India and yet, they were not physically together as much as any normal boyfriend-girlfriend. their phone conversations, (and apparently big phone bills between india and the US) somehow made this day a finality with loads of love jitter.

Its the first time i have done a wedding, nor attended one, where the bestman and the maid-of-honour sits beside the groom and the bride.. apparently, that is how they do it for a Christian wedding in india.

The bride and the groom initially a little bit is awkward with one being on a first date (which it wasnt obviously), but as the wedding progresses, both relaxed and starts to smile and enjoy the moment.

because im friends with the groom, i could read most of his silent expressions. here,i thought he was thinking to himself, "this is it". well, thats how i read it.

this church became fuller and fuller as the ceremony went on. and outside, you can imagine the crowd. people/families with children with them were outside, waiting to join in for the reception which was just in the hall across.

all the women tend to wear traditional costumes, while all the men wear western costumes. most men in their relaxed mode would wear the "monde" (a sort of a skirt for the bottom part of the outfit).

all the women wears open toed/open sandals. i havent seen anyone with closed-shoes on.

these girls were the most well-behaved kids i have seen in a wedding. in all weddings i was fortunate to photograph, or was a guest in, kids, whether they were guests, or part of the entourage, they will always do some mischief, either running, or getting agitated once the ceremony start. but these little girls, they just sat there, and listened. like little madams. isnt that cute?

they were so intent in listening to the ceremony. either they were prepped by their moms to do so, or they were really like that in day to day situations..but in a ceremony which was quite lengthy timewise, i was expecting them to be moving about and running from one end to the other: they proved me wrong.

such adults.

she was a little bit self conscious..and rightfully so. to be wearing such a beautiful gown and those jewelries, it must felt like you were on the spot in a show.

..not to mention alot of videos and cameras facing you.

..documenting the event, and your every move, ever second if they could.

..and then they had to touch..

..the connection that starts to relax someone looking through the lens, i also breathed a sigh of relief.

the priest blessing their union..and the bride and groom doing as they're told.

In a christian indian wedding, instead of a ring, the groom ties a "thali" (or a gold chain with a pendant with a cross), around the bride's neck. this signifies that she is his. (isnt that nice?).

i almost cried during this part.

putting on the necklace/thali..and securing it, just like putting a ring on someone's finger..

they are now man and wife..and instead of a kiss, they join hand with the priest.

..God being the centre of their union..

when i was there, i felt the real meaning of a church wedding where a couple promises, that God, above anything else, will be their start-up; their foundation.

..and a prayer to ask for blessings and guidance for the union..


more photos on the next entry...:-)

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Thilak and Ragi--an experience

I am back from India (and a few days in Dubai).

To have experienced India as a visitor and as a photographer for two weddings was a blessing i am forever grateful for in my prayers always. (another blog entry)

But for now, I am sharing some photos i have done for my friend Chelson (or Thilak's) and Ann (Ragi's) wedding.


A few days before the wedding, the groom informed me that i will be with two other photographers, one was hired by the bride's family (to do the bride's family side) and the other, the groom's uncles/aunties got for their 'own photos'. I was tasked by the groom to do the "UK" style shots that he says i do, he wants in his album (i.e. photojournalistic style/non-posed).

I was a little bit confused as to why someone would spend so much on getting a photographer from abroad (fares, food and accommodation) when in fact they have wedding photographers abound on their day too, and then when i got to see samples of the photographer's previous work (engagement photos/album done for them) and meeting up with the photographers, i soon understood, that their style of photography is different. (Most wedding photographers in that part of India still do the conventional stand-up-infront-of-my-lens-and-hold still-while -i-do-my-shoot-type photography). The groom knows best *wink*.

Also, there are countless thousands of guests who will congratulate the groom, stand infront of the camera and stare at it, as a souvenir with the groom. The groom, thank goodness knew i do not do such photos, and spared me that kind of work.

Their (Thilak's and Ragi's) wedding was a sort of the 'wedding of the year' in their town. It was at par of that a celebrity's in their region as people from all over the world, friends, relatives from different countries went home to witness the occasion and attended by over a thousand people.

It was a mishmash of conventional and non-conventional. The groom did not sport a mustache which was a requirement for the men in their region (esp on the wedding day; Thilak said there was not enough time to grow one ), he also wore a non traditional garb for the evening celebration (which his brother did on his evening do), instead, he wore a cool linen suit, and loafers. I suppose Thilak was forgiven for that as he is now a combination of European and American influence where he lived and worked the past years. Other than that, everything was pure Southern Indian in food and in celebration.

Some photos of the day.


It was a Christian wedding but the cultural aspects of South India was very much prominent in the proceedings of the day.

I was there for the groom's pre-wedding ceremony which was the bestowing of garland.

Thilak's family is a devout family. They had prayers with their priest (Church of South India), at his home before we left for the wedding ceremony.

The groom and his bestman, his brother Vivek.

Thilak's mother giving him his garland. This apparently was part of the betrothal process (as heard through the aunties' explanation). The garland is a symbol he is getting 'hitched'.

The groom kissed lovingly by "Pati", or grandma.

Aunties one by one come and greet the groom a happy wish..

The bridal transport...

The groom resides in Tamil Nadu which is 3 and 1/2 hours away from Kerala,where the bride comes from, and where the church was,and the lunch reception was. It was a long (perilous) drive to the church,lol.

Sweets and food are a big part of the pre-wedding ceremony, most especially bananas.

Banana's play a significant part in the weddings (in fact in all of our everyday adventures in India,haha). In weddings, apparently, they signify abundance and sweetness in marriage. One of my friends commented, maybe it has a productivity meaning too, due to its phallic shape, yeah, i think whatever meaning you could put on a banana, it is indeed a major role during the weddings.

The wedding meal always had a banana per plate/or banana leaf in our case, and all restaurants give it to you after every meal, to wipe away the heat of the spices from their cooking.

The groom's cousin, Christo, who works for British company in India, who came home (36 hours on a train),from one end of India to the South, to attend Thilak's wedding beside the groom's close friend from England Cheryl. Cheryl, depending on what she wears,looks different everytime. In this photo she could be seen as an Indian lady. Oftentimes when she is with me, other people think she is Filipino, but she actually is South African, mighty and proud to be one..

and some of the groom's family.

The groom did some of the directing himself, giving orders and directions to drivers, helps and other attendees.

Father of the groom, Mr.Solomon. he used to be a school director for their town's only primary school. Such a humble and hardworking man. He opened his house to us,and fed us with wonderful spicy food.

Arriving at the church.. before proceeding inside, the groom and his family has to meet up with the bride's family for the giving of garland, which signifies the betrothal, and acceptance of him into the family.

The groom leading the way, and his aunties are right behind him to give sweets and bananas to the bride's family.

red banana's..the last time i had them, was when i was a young girl, in my maternal grandmother's hometown.

the giving and exchanging of food is a symbol that one's house is open to the other's family. a sweet welcome.

Welcoming the groom..Mr. Thomas, the bride's family officiating the giving of garland.

The brother of the bride giving the groom his garland.

Officially brothers now.

More of the ceremony.

The groom, albeit,feeling the nervous excitement for the ceremony and seeing his bride.

The dashing groom..He is gorgeous, this man, well mannered, intelligent, and has more beneath that Hugo Boss suit he is wearing.

A few days before the wedding we asked him, what he will be wearing on the day. When he said, a Hugo Boss suit, we teased him, as he's such an outdoorsy person, and has no air and graces about him, that we thought he got his sudden penchant for designer labels when he started working in the States. And he just laughed. (Saying that, we actually did notice that even then, his climbing gear were always the top of the range quality,so it might have been not more evident then, but he actually is a man who loves the finer things in life--outdoorsy or not).

The anticipation before going inside the church.


More photos from the wedding on the next entry.