Monthly Archives: November 2012

I tell stories.

I’ve resisted the label storyteller for the longest time, but the truth is that is what I am. What I’ve always been. People invite me into their stories, be it for a moment, and I try and re-tell them my way. Often the stories tell themselves, they lead me by the hand and all I do is listen to what I’m given.

But this time.

Man.

I really don’t even know where to begin. The story I’m about to tell is more complex than any other, yet it’s as simple as breathing. A couple of years ago, Jacqui and I went to Ubud in Bali for the first time. Serendipity lead us on winding roads to the small village of Sayan. We rented a beautiful house for a week, overlooking the Sayan Gorge and as soon as we arrived there, my whole body reacted in a way it never had before. I have never felt more in tune with a place, it felt like the world and I were finally breathing in sync. When we had to leave Sayan, I knew I had to come back one day.

When Elora and Rajiv contacted me about their Bali wedding, they never mentioned where in Bali they were getting married, but from their first contact, I knew I had to shoot it. I was meant to shoot it. It took me months to understand why. As it turns out, Elora grew up in the house next to where we had been staying that time in Sayan. As a girl she had been playing in the rice paddies of the Sayan Gorge dreaming that she’d one day would marry her prince charming there.

Elora’s father, John Hardy, raised his family in the heart of Bali, and once you visit Sayan, you will understand why.

Elora met Rajiv in NYC. There he was, the prince of her dreams. Because that he is, a very, very charming prince. I ramble now, and I realise I will never to explain everything about this wedding to you, all the ins and outs, so I’m just going to present it to you. I need to explain a few things though. The wedding took place over three days. The first day John took the guests of a wondrous hike, explaining how the Balinese irrigation system works, showing us all how the farmers grow and harvest rice. It was hot, wet and extremely humid, but i still felt a strange connection with everything I saw, my senses turned on the max, the hairs on my arms tingling. After the hike we finished up with lunch down by the river before people took a soothing dip in the spring pouring over the cliff from the Hardy residence.

Later that night, all the guests met up at Bambu Indah for the first celebration, an Indian ceremony and the craziest dance party I’ve ever seen.

Day two started early. Elora’s dress was made from fresh Jasmine flowers and she was later sewn into it. A bridge had been made from bambu and on that Elora and her father walked across the river to the ceremony. Later we shot the portraits in the rice paddies where Elora had played as a little girl before me met up with the guests in a village close by for the reception. And here I know my images can’t show you the glory of what I saw. The reception that night took place under a large Banyan tree, I have never seen anything like it before. As you’ll notice, there aren’t too many traditional wedding details in this post and that’s because Bali itself is the detail, the fabric of these days, and that’s why the images can’t show you what it was like.

Day three. Elora and Rajiv were blessed in a local ceremony before they invited the locals to a feast under the stars. About 500 people were fed and several times I had to remind myself to shoot the magic in front of me. It was just so much to take in.

I know these images can’t tell you the whole story, there’s no way they can explain it to you, but hopefully they will give you an idea.

All I can give you is a glimpse, show you a fraction of what I saw, a taste of what we all felt.

The week before the wedding Elora sent me an email with a  photo of herself.

It simply said,

It will be just like this.

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Today’s wedding is today featured on Oncewed here and here and was also published in American Vogue last month.

music credit: Balmorhea - We Will Rebuild With Smooth Stones (iTunes)

 

The year is coming to an end. I still have four weddings left to shoot and two workshops, one in Melbourne next week and one in Sydney the week after. I’m shooting weddings in both those cities before I head to New Zealand and then finish up in California December 29. I haven’t counted how many weddings I’ve shot, but I’ve had another amazing year. When I’m finished properly I will sit down and look at all the weddings I’ve shot and put a post together, mainly for myself to remember them all.

I put on some good music, lean back and go through them and it all comes back to me.

But we’re not there yet, and that’s not why I’m writing now.

2013 is not here yet, but I already know what I’m doing with my next six months. It’s both the beauty and the curse of doing what I do. My life is mapped out, at least ticket-wise. Of course nothing will turn out exactly the way I foresee it, but hey…

I’m talking a lot more next year.

This year I did workshops in Australia, NYC and Cape Town, next year I’m doing more of them and also speaking at a bunch of conferences and conventions and I thought I’d run through them quickly.

I kick off the year with guest speaking – at my own house – at this little beauty of a workshop January 8-9. I don’t need to tell you how talented I think the Parsons are, do I?

After shooting on Taprobane Island in Sri Lanka late January, I head straight to the Dominican Republic to speak at the What If Conference there February 4-7. I meant to attend last year’s conference myself, so being asked to speak there is an honour.

Ten days after that I head to Europe and this is when the real mayhem starts.

My goal is to do two workshops in London somewhere between the 17-22 February. I’m working on that content as we speak. After that I head to Malaga to speak at BodaF 25-28 February. After Spain I fly straight to Las Vegas where I’ll be co-hosting the next season of The Film Show, something I’m ridiculously excited about. And since I’m already in Vegas, why not attend WPPI while I’m there? (No, I’m not speaking)

After that I get to go home.

For a little bit.

In April, I’m speaking at the Canada Photo Convention in Vancouver (April 23-24). I’m also thinking about doing a workshop or two in North America at that time.

In June, I head over to Europe again and my plan is to do a few more workshops there in the summer months. I haven’t decided on cities yet, so if you’re interested, hit me up.

Well, that’s my start to 2013. I’m also shooting a few weddings around the place, so I’ll be pretty busy.

If I’m in your part of the world, maybe I’ll see you around?

I’m already excited about the year to come.

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The Winberg wedding extravaganza was recently featured on Green Wedding Shoes. Go there for all the details.