"Is it because of the money?" I get ask this a lot when people find out I am a freelance photographer. Without going into a long lecture on how much work and sweat goes into capturing the perfect wedding moments, i usually casually quip " It is for the pleasure of being surrounded by happy people, of being overwhelmed by emotional vibes of those around you."
Those words rang very true recently, when I was commissioned to shoot a wedding cum full moon party for an old high school friend. He had gotten married in China, and with his daughter reaching one month old (dubbed 'full moon' by the chinese), he decided to do a double celebration.
Through the opening speech by the groom's sister, I found out that behind the happy story, there was an underlying sad note : The groom's mother had left the world 99 days before that night, and it was unfortunate that she could not be there to witness her grandchild's one month old celebration. Tears swelled in her eyes as she spoke, and through my lenses i spotted many a teary eye amongst the guests as well. And as she walked down the stage, the live band started singing " Shi shang zi you ma ma hao ", which literally translate into 'our mothers are the best people in the world', a famous chinese song about how great a mother's love is. At that moment, i was forced to stop shooting as my concentration was shifted to fighting back the wetness that was forming in my eyes.
Throughout all that, I could observe that the groom's father remained solemn, as if he was reminiscing about the moments that he had spent with his departed loved one. The groom was staring at him, concerned, but unsure what he could do. I told myself then that if possible, I would want to capture a picture of this man smiling, as I knew somehow that deep down in spite of the sorrow of his loss, he still had great joy in seeing his youngest son happily married and having a healthy and beautiful grandchild.
Later on, as they were making their toasting rounds, suddenly the quiet and demure bride pulled me aside and whispered," Alvin, can you please capture a picture of father smiling? He seldom smiles, so......" I simply nodded, without telling her it was already what I was already planning to do.
If you have read this far and still have no clue why is it i love being a wedding photographer so much, well, I can only say you have not been reading hard enough.