Stuffy poses, tight smiles, staged backdrops.... Wedding photographs were once just that. Enter unexpected, lively shots, offbeat, natural frames, comical, intimate moments captured on camera in real time, and the world of wedding photography has changed. In today’s brand of popular ‘candid’ photography, real and offguard moments sell, endorsed by a savvy, budding tribe of shutterbugs experimenting with fresh ways to freeze our Kodak moment.
For Delhi-based Ritika Singh, photography happened just by chance. A friend approached her for a wedding and she clicked a few pictures. Then, through word of mouth, it became her profession. “Couples who choose candid photography are more demanding,” she points out. Sure, they are ready to spend more money, but also want to get their money’s worth, even if that means trawling through photo galleries on blogs and social networks to find a photographer with an eye for the usually unseen wedding moments. Calcutta-based Sulekha treasures the unusual photographs Diptish Prakrit produced of her wedding in March. “He clicked when the subjects were unaware of being photographed, when I was smiling at someone, when my mother was crying.” Diptish, who has been doing wedding photography for three years now, says the trick is to heed “any moment that marks the couple as husband and wife. It could be the bride closing her eyes, the groom taking a deep breath. The world changes for them the very next moment”.
Real-life pics Wedding images shot by Mayuresh Patil
Indeed, the job of candid wedding photographers begins way before the actual wedding. For Diptish, it starts “when the bride is getting ready, the groom is shaving”. He makes sure he’s always backstage, capturing “friends and family working hard to perfect every detail before the guests arrive”. Then there are other details to be shot, the empty venue, flower decor, the henna on the bride’s hand, the food, the wedding rings, the bridesmaids.
Real-life pics Wedding images shot by Nidhin Poothully
In fact, many of the trendy, ‘fine art’ photographers have learned how to anticipate the next unique moment. “Weddings in India are especially hard to shoot because of the various cultures. I study the ceremonies of that particular culture in advance,” says Nidhin G. Poothully, a wedding photographer in Bangalore. “Having a background of the couple, how they met, little anecdotes from their life helps build a platform to weave it all into the story of the wedding,” feels Naina. For Mayuresh Patil, it is important to establish one link with the couple before the D-day, so that “they have a certain degree of confidence in me”.
But Ritika Singh also believes in living in the moment: “I go with my instinct,” she says. The trick is to always be on your toes. “There have been times when I’ve lowered the camera just for a second and I’ve missed an intimate moment between two people,” recalls Naina. Also key to capturing little moments well is to blend in with the crowd, and not intrude into the sequence of events. That’s precisely why many young couples prefer picking artsy photographers, believes photojournalist Sanjay Gupta. “They don’t want the photographer to breathe down their neck and demand all kinds of poses.” Exactly the discretion Sulekha appreciated in Diptish. “He was different from the usual lot of photographers. He did not ask me to smile, stand up or tell me where to look.” Candid wedding photography gives you not just better pictures, but also a better wedding, where you can concentrate on the wedding and not on the photographer’s requests, says Nidhin. Indeed, the idea of enjoying your own wedding is new in India, feels Sanjay Gupta.
Real-life pics Wedding images shot by Ritika Singh
No wonder there is a fast growing fan club of candid photography in wedding circles, with couples ready to shell out anything between Rs 15,000 and several lakhs for a top-notch shutterbug. Candid wedding pictures are also quickly becoming another way to stand out in the crowd, to be freely shared on social networks, poised even as ‘art pieces’. Even pre-wedding photos, like couples sharing a light moment on the beach, make a buzz. “It has become a sort of competition. The more unusual your photos, the more attention you get on Facebook,” comments Ritika Singh.
And as the rules of wedding photography change, the wedding album sees a transformation as well, often resembling a storybook, or a glossy coffee-table production, all customised to reflect the couple’s personality. “I have selected an 8 x 8 inch soft-cover square book. It will be like a small magazine that I can conveniently carry in my handbag, so that I can share it with all my near and dear ones when I travel,” says Anuradha. Indeed, the way we store our fondest memories has changed, certainly for the better, and perhaps for good.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
More ways of giving the institution of marriage a spark, that it does nt deserve,
They are also finding innovative new ways of reasons to divorce!
I haven't read the writings, but the photographs are just marvellous. These photographs are also of North Indians. It is a great event, to be a part of these happenings, and the lady seems very inspired, when she took the photographs.
Is the media propagating that only females have emotions at marriage, or did the article forget to print pictures of the husbands?
A good change - next can we get rid of Wedding videos, please.
Shame on the media for not printing pictures of the husbands in happier moments, that too in an article about marriage.
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