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Shweta and Parth's Wedding - II

During the last meeting I had with Shweta’s family before the wedding, Shweta’s father suggested her to go with Vicco turmeric rather than real haldi for her Haldi ceremony as no one knows what kind of reactions she ends up getting on the wedding day. I took it to be his dark humour while everybody reprimanded him to not go overhand infront of guests(me) . I immediately took a liking for him as that’s the kind of humor that runs in our family. Little did I know they will go ahead with that idea.

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While Shweta was having fun at her Haldi, Parth was getting ready for his Janeyu before the wedding.

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Both Parth and Shweta got ready at Taj Vivanta, while the lovely decor was being done by Naina Garg of Heavenly Marriages Inc.

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Weddings are too hectic and there’s a lot of things going on the couple’s mind, when I suggested Parth and Shwetato sneak sometime out for the portraits, they flat out refused as they were around their family and friends who had come from all over the world and that’s what mattered to them. Even during their consultation, Shweta wanted me to be just capturing whatever is happening and nothing fabricated, but I had found this lovely paitning at the venue and couldn’t miss the chance. Also since the couple is so occupied with other things, it becomes ourjob to ease out things for them and take over the responsibilities sometimes, I did a mock shoot with my assistant , came back down to them and convinced them for 5 mins after they liked the photo. Still I got that chance after all the ceremonies had finished off. But looking at the result it was all worth it and I am happy that I became pushy for a change.

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The vidai had to take place from Shweta’s house and one could sense the gloomy somberness in the environment.

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Shweta & Parth's Wedding - I

As a wedding photographer, I get a lot of calls or enquiries from couples, their parents for photographing their perspective weddings, but with some couples, you know from the get go that these are the kind of people you’ll get to enjoy a lot while being a witness of their big day.

Shweta and Parth’s wedding was one such wedding I shot this year and I have received so much praise for this album that it has been overwhelming as well as reassuring of my own craft and instincts for capturing moments.

Since it was a four day long wedding, I have split the blog post in two sections starting off with the Mehendi ceremony where the groom also dropped in to have a couple of cans of beer but.

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To be honest, unless I bring some elements of my street photography while shooting weddings, I am not content about where my photo story is heading on that day.

To be honest, unless I bring some elements of my street photography while shooting weddings, I am not content about where my photo story is heading on that day.

I probably mentioned this somewhere that since meeting Andre Corsi at Silk Inspire, I have got a new perspective of keeping an eye on children during weddings and see it from their perspective too.

I probably mentioned this somewhere that since meeting Andre Corsi at Silk Inspire, I have got a new perspective of keeping an eye on children during weddings and see it from their perspective too.

Didn’t I tell you :D

Didn’t I tell you :D

A lot of the couple’s friends dropped in from different cities much before the actual wedding started.

A lot of the couple’s friends dropped in from different cities much before the actual wedding started.

Friends and family of Shweta had arrived from different cities and it turned out to be a mix of traditional folk songs sung by her aunts and friends discussing the dance moves for the ring ceremony and cocktail party.

The ring ceremony and the cocktail party.

The ring ceremony and the cocktail party.

Each day’s decor was done by a different team but still it felt so cohesive while being different. This beautiful cake was provided by arguably the best wedding cake maker of the town, Mouth Wide shut.

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The crazy dance party went beyond the wee hours, even after we left the venue, which also resulted in Parth’s swollen face the next day, but that’s all okay, times and meets with friends from your childhood to adult life comes very few times.
Coming up next is their wedding day and how I clicked the most Unhappy picture of mine ever……

Why I also shoot for free.

Photography is one of the best jobs that I have stumbled upon. It's less of a job and more of something that I love and can buy food with it too without getting grumpy doing it. You can believe me because I have switched many jobs over the years. It has not been very long that I started photography professionally but once I did it started with some documentary assignments for NGOs, one for Star Plus on which the tele serial Durga is based on, and some events. I never really planned where it will take me. The first wedding I did was bang opposite my house in a park and was a 'Saamuhik Vivah', a group wedding of several couples facilitated by a charity organization. the article on it used to be on my older website, sometime I'll upload it here. It was one of the most unique and beautiful thing I had experienced photography wise, it was funny at times too.

Over the time I have infused more energy into understanding the genre and look for different and unique weddings to come by. There haven't been many but heck, it's just a start. I want to be known for my wedding work seriously like the recognition I have got for my street photography. But it also comes with its own perils. Shooting commercially brings a pressure onto you and a rough shot list which you have to cover anyhow. That spoils the opportunity to look beyond what's happening at the forefront. I do have a second shooter for that but still it was a while since I shot a wedding just for myself. I wanted to have fun, photograph only when I found something picturesque, to be relaxed, and not shoot if I didn't feel like or didn't find anything of interest. I required this excercise to confirm if my instincts are still sharp or not.

The opportunity came by quickly. An old friend, Rahul whose hostel room in FTII I have sprawled in for days to download their movie database for days and shared stage with in one of the plays while holding my toughest not to laugh during the rehersals because of the disdain look he gives to my character, invited me to his wedding.

I was told that a special folk dance will be performed at the Baraat which is known as called "Chhaliya"  and I planned to meet up with this team of folk dancers. Since I was there I took my camera along, a very simple setup, with just one lens and no lights. The intention was more to move around, observe, meet people, experience a wedding after a long time and shoot only when I felt like it.  It wasn't a job you see.

So here is Rahul Bora, beautiful and goofy as hell. But he'll be quite sober here all the time.
 

And here are his feet. :D

The pretty Daadi.

The customary tilaks for all the ladies.

Those lovely noserings.

A groom that brooms at his own wedding is uber cool.

A groom that brooms at his own wedding is uber cool.

The group of Chhaliya dancers getting ready to lead the Baraat.

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There's a little back story that the leader of the Chaliya dance group shared with me, in the olden times the folk dancers used to accompany the war parties and lead them with a white flag and would be tailed by a dancer with the red flag. After winning the war, they would lead the procession with a red flag and tail it with white one. In current scenario, there's no civil war here, thankfully, and Chaliya dancers have been adapted into weddings where the Baraat is similarly led by these flags. The white flag here is a signal of the Baraat reaching the bride's place and while returning with her the flags would swapped in a similar fashion. Not politically correct now, but that's the way it is and the tradition is preserved this way.

 

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A slightly different version of the story can be read here on Wikipedia.

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Unfortunately I couldn't shoot till the end but I thinnk I achieved more than what I had expected to. I got to shoot a wedding without a checkllist in mind, or the usual set of lenses and flashlights that I carry on assignments and still could manange to follow a picture story of all the proceedings. Next time when I do this I intend to do this with a film camera, about which i do have a story to tell. Till then, please spread the word and help me shoot more weddings. :)

A wedding in Nainital- II

Outside the venue at Royal Hotel, Nainital

Outside the venue at Royal Hotel, Nainital

Manika & Sukarn's Wedding

On the day of the wedding which was to take place at Royal hotel in Nainital which has absolutely picturesque galleries, we were waiting to start with Manika's portrait session but the room yet was bustling with family members. We did some test shots and kept waiting, we were waiting for the groom's brothers to arrive with the gifts only after which Manika would go to get ready. It was getting late I suggested we do a light portrait session out in the gallery before we lose light.

and thank god we did it because we never got the room after that and Manika had to be shifted to another room while the groom's side arrived.

Much before I had even started photographing weddings professionally I used to photograph the Brass bands on street, there's so much of character, intrigue and humour around them

Much before I had even started photographing weddings professionally I used to photograph the Brass bands on street, there's so much of character, intrigue and humour around them

The master of the ceremony getting ready backstage before he enter the arena. :D

The master of the ceremony getting ready backstage before he enter the arena. :D

The successful flicker story.

The successful flicker story.

After the exchange of garlands on the stage, we quickly moved to the corridor of the hotel to setup our lights for the couple pictures, with some confusion we were told that they would come after a little Puja so we moved back to the hall and turns out that Puja converted to the full wedding rites, little after 4 o' clock we realised that the couple shoot will not be possible, I wish we had got 10 minutes for that but mostly in traditional weddings it gets difficult to snatch the couple away from the family.

A wedding in Nainital.

Ever since I photographed the wedding of my proudly 'Pahadi' friend Rahul, I had spread the word that I want to shoot more of them even by taking a cut in the my fees. I absolutely love the all time smiling and laughing faces, the great camaraderie among the family members and the colorful Sarees that the women wear. The energy just transfers onto you and in the pictures.

The loveliest part of the deal was that this wedding album was being gifted to Manika (the bride) by her cousins, one of them is an old friend from theater, while the family had hired their own regular photographer. It's uplifting when your friends believe in you that much. The first leg of the wedding was the Sangeet ceremony in Lucknow where Manika's father was looking after all the arrangements before the guests poured in.

I managed to get a picture of him in a somber mood before that guest actually started pouring in.

I managed to get a picture of him in a somber mood before that guest actually started pouring in.

Love this portrait of Manika which I managed to make in one of the empty halls of the venue.

Love this portrait of Manika which I managed to make in one of the empty halls of the venue.

 

The wedding was to happen in Nainital, but not before the best Haldi ceremony I have ever experienced.

I had a really hard time sifting through the enormous number of photos from this ceremony. Normally a good edit is the one which doesn't repeat similar photos too much, but here each picture was unique because of changing micro expressions of Manika all the time. Never seen a bride having so much fun at her Haldi.

I would break this post here and continue the wedding album of Manika and Sukarn in the next blogpost. Let me know how you like it till now.