15 years ago, I was participating in a study-abroad semester in India through my undergraduate studies and my host had invited me as guest to what seemed to be hours worth of ceremony; I would later learn this was the last in a line up of 3 action packed, full length days of wedding festivities. The colors, the joyful shouts, the dancing and clapping surrounded me like an ocean of happiness. Somewhere, somehow, and very suddenly, with enough gentle shoves from my host family and amidst the different sounds and tempo so beautifully chaotic, I was photographing an Indian wedding IN INDIA!
In my newly acquired, colorful sari, I stuck out like a sore thumb but was eagerly guided by uncles and aunties alike to be sure not to miss this photo op or that extra special moment. It was with this wedding that my love documenting cultural ceremony was born. Add a few more trips to my own homeland of Eastern Europe to view archival portraits of distant relatives in a WWII memorial and my life's work was laid out in front of me: retell meaningful stories of our human experience with my camera in hand.
Fast forward the tape a decade and a half forward and here I sit, penciling love notes about stories that mean as much to the people in these photos as they do to me. The colors, textures and immersive nature of Indian culture and celebrations, especially these weddings, melt my art heart. When offered the opportunity to work with the beautiful humans that are Rishi + Minal, I couldn't have been more excited to tell their vibrant love story.
Minal's elegant poise, stunning style and gentle playfulness are unique to anyone I’ve met. Radiantly beautiful and arrayed in her gorgeous lehenga, I couldn't help but notice the gentle calm she wore all day, mirroring the quiet elegance that she is.
Rishi's easy and funny banter made for animated photos while he waited to see his bride. His dapper manner as he joked around with his best buds perfectly suited the white tuxedo he wore later in the evening.
The baraat, a raucous parade led by the groom's family into the ceremony, was one of my favorite parts of the entire celebration. It was jovial, loud and just a little bit crazy.
The day of festivities was long, but it flew by in swirls of color and emotion; the ceremony was filled with auspicious blessings, the reception dazzled with animated dances and performances, and the speeches were hilarious as well as heartwarming; especially as Rishi dropped to his knee in front of a tearfully happy Minal. This buzz of love surrounded every single person in attendance and kept even the eldest of guests grinning all day and helping to close out the dance floor! My life as sociologist with a camera has never been boring. Documenting the love story of this strikingly gorgeous and genuinely kind hearted couple for 17 hours fits right in line with that amazing tempo.
To Rishi + Minal: you, your love and your culture are beautiful. It was my honor and very much a privilege to play fly-on-the-wall at your wedding celebration. While I've grown less shy and a tad more bossy while directing portraits, your candid demeanor and unwavering affection shine through these images. Thank you for both trusting our photo team to experience your unique love. It is bold, beautiful and withstanding, just like your roots.
Rose + Co