Saturday, December 19, 2009

Return to beauty (redux) - Trang


Since my February post on beauty (and addiction thereto), I have had the pleasure of photographing Trang, an acquaintance of whom I have the highest esteem.

We met nearly three years ago and clicked almost immediately. In that time I have watched as she has gone through various situations including personal tragedy, career changes and recently, marriage to a wonderful young man, Han.

No matter what the situation there remains a certain constancy about her. She is kind, gentle of nature, funny, caring, generous of spirit, strong and loving.

She is the epitome of beauty in more ways than one.

A couple of months ago she asked me to photograph her wedding. In the ensuing discussion it became apparent that Trang had a distaste for the current in-vogue style of wedding photography practiced by most wedding photographers these days.

Instead, she preferred the images to capture what happens on the day. This fitted in with my own strongly held beliefs on wedding photography.

My personal philosophy is that once the photographer takes charge or 'directs' the scene, it is no longer the couple's day, but the vision of the photographer. My own preference is that the photography should record the authentic happenings of a sacred event on a special day.

Of course that does not preclude making a few formal or semi formal portrait images on the day. After all, weddings are a great opportunity to get images of family and friends who may not have come together for some time.

So a handful of so-called 'setups' may be ok. What I seriously object to is the overwhelmingly staged, contrived, controlled images which are a product of the photographer's idea of how the wedding should be, rather than a genuine, respectful observation of the day.

Now, that is not to decry the very talented practitioners of the other style. Far from it. I am in awe of the talent that some of those photographers possess. It is the style that I detest, not the talent or the photographer.

An analogy could be that while I acknowledge the great talents of musicians, there are obviously, like everyone else, some genres that I cannot stand. Likewise with photography - I can respect the artist, if not the style of the art.

So I was somewhat pleased when Trang voiced the same preferences.

Prior to the wedding day the three of us spent an afternoon in Melbourne as a kind of pre-wedding shoot. Ironically, this involved more 'direction' than the wedding shoot itself. Most shooters have it the other way around - a semi-relaxed pre -wedding shoot and a highly directed wedding! You just got to love irony.

Anyway, to cut the story short - the wedding was a delight. I spent the day with Trang and her lady companions (there's that addiction to beauty again) photographing whatever happened pre-ceremony, the actual ceremony and the reception. It was a joy to witness the event and I am grateful for the experience. It was one of the best weddings that I have ever attended.

As a bonus, they loved the images. Now that is always a relief!

Thank you both.

A little footnote for the photographers. The light at the reception was so low that the ISO was often around 4000 or so, lens at f2, shutter at 1/25th! Low is not the word!
This is where the recent tools such as the D700 come into their own.

The image below was 6400ISO, 1/200th at f2.8 on the 24-70 nikkor (set at 35mm), auto -white balance. Pretty capable little camera!

To Trang, Han and all lovers of beauty -
Stay safe


  1. Great work mate - lovely photography!
    Hope to catch you in 2010!

  2. Thanks,
    Let's make sure we do catch up - it's been a while.