you may have noticed some changes around here recently... i haven't advertised them too assiduously, because like me, my brand is still searching for a niche of its own. but i'm hoping that the pictures in this post shed a little light on my corner, wherever it might actually be. i wanted to share one image from each of the nine weddings i've shot this year (well, ten including dec. 26, but it's too early for me to post anything yet - very soon, i promise!) and also share a little bit about how much i've learned from and enjoyed each experience. most of all, this post is to celebrate and thank each of my wonderful clients from 2009: for allowing me to share your most important day, for trusting me to capture it and for letting me tell your stories here. my most sincere prayers for your marriages to be blessed and blissful, for your love to increase every year henceforth, and your futures to be bright, healthful and happy! i was more than a little nervous to participate in shooting saad and mahroo's wedding, because saad was already an established and talented wedding photographer himself. but second shooting alongside his assistant, in the community i grew up in (who were already used to seeing me barefoot and camera-laden at weddings), turned out to be more fun i than i could have imagined. since then, mahroo has seamlessly joined in at s2s photography and it's been my great pleasure and inspiration to see the company flourish as it has this year, and to see the mind-bogglingly gorgeous work coming from the team. i have to share a link to this post that saad blogged on mahroo's birthday because it puts into words what i feel like the following image shows: these two hold fast together, and what results is something more beautiful than either words or images can capture.
in all the weddings i've been to, as a guest or photographer, i honestly don't think i've seen any couple look at each other the way jamil and mahdiyah did. their love was so unselfconscious and intimate, yet with a light that touched everyone who witnessed it. i love this image because i see that look, and because jamil's beautiful daughter is sheltered so warmly between them, with the qur'an centering them together...
okay so this is two pictures, but that's because the first needs the second... syd was just coming down the stairs after getting dressed, as her sister and family were arriving at the tabard inn in dc, and the look on her sister's face as she saw the bride for the first time was just priceless. syd had a few generations of family present and it was so important to her for friends and family to enjoy her celebration, too. i shared these images because they show the less romantic, but equally important side of weddings: the intense emotion families experience in seeing their beloved son, daughter, sister or brother joining a new family and creating one of their own.
mwana is a friend of mine from college park, whom i met in the muslim undergraduate student community when i came here for grad school. i was thrilled and honored when she asked me to shoot her wedding, and do her henna as well, but it wasn't really until the wedding day, when i met her husband, that i really came to appreciate seeing how happy this muhammad guy made her feel :). i chose this image, which is also on my front page, to share because that gorgeous smile in all of mwana's pictures meant so much to me.
this image is possibly one of my favorites from the entire year: taken on a mountain overlook at wintergreen resort just a few minutes after the ceremony, when the sun had just emerged from the clouds and the family members were all congratulating each other. the bride was walking with her new husband and she turned toward the sun, and her smile shone just as bright as the light itself.
this gorgeous girl graces the front page of my website in her blue-and-gold walima dress; nadia and shehzad were so darn photogenic that it's always hard to choose which of their portrait pics to showcase at any time. but i picked this candid here because i love this moment - i love how at-ease these two were with each other, how comfortably in love, how obviously made for each other, and i feel like that comes across in this picture of them laughing together.
this is one of the last images i shot at farhana and asif's wedding, and oddly enough what i like about it is how the barrier of the car window removes the viewer from the moment; this is outside, looking in, just a glimpse of this barely-visible couple as they set off, literally, on the first leg of their new journey together. yet you still see the glitter of farhana's gold embroidery, the beauty of her profile... their leavetaking (rukhsathi) was very emotional, even for me to witness, and this image always makes me feel the bittersweetness of that moment.
sarah and eddie's story of love across the ocean (eddie came from south africa) had enough romance for a jane austen novel - and indeed, everything from the autumnal color scheme to the tablenames (pemberley, anyone? mansfield park?) and the quaint, lovely bed-and-breakfast venue brought that nostalgic sense of romance to mind. but what i remember most is the adoring love of sarah's parents for their daughter, and i loved this moment soon after the ceremony where the rabbi was consoling his daughter as she tried to come to grips with the feeling of "being married"... :)
i still haven't posted any images from tauseef and hefsa's wedding, because as it was gender-segregated and the bride wore no headscarf, almost all the images will remain private. but, this is one the bride gave me permission to share, and i have a thing - if you haven't notice already - for images of mehndi'ed hands on bridal clothes :)