A DIFFERENT VIEW OF WEDDINGS By Giselle P. Kasilag BusinessWorld October 2001 When he slips the ring into her finger, when she says “I do,” when the veil is lifted to reveal the blushing bride and the union is sealed with a kiss, it is a perfect moment of bliss when the wisdom of a couple’s choice to spend the rest of their lives together is affirmed. Then the moment is shattered by a bright white light .The flash of the photographer’s camera leaves the couple momentarily blinded and confused. And when the wedding photos come, the blissful moment is preserved with the bride’s eye completely shut and the groom sporting a smirk.
BusinessWorld photojournalist Miguel Cortez takes a look at wedding photography and offers a fresh approach in unfolding the drama at the altar through pictures in an exhibit entitled DecisiveMoments, Wedding Reportage in Black and White. The event is part of “Wedding Celebrations 2001,” to be held at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City on Sept. 2.
“My approach is to report through pictures the events as they happen, just like covering it for a newspapers—just like a rally, convention, conflict, or human drama where there are no choreographed scenes,” said Mr. Cortez.
He explained that the style is best described as wedding reportage photography. It departs from the traditional wedding coverage where the movement of the couple is choreographed in order to achieve a highly polished, picture-perfect look that is expected to be present in every wedding album.
“It is synonymous to wedding photojournalism,” he added. “ It is a style of wedding photography that captures the key moments of the wedding day unobtrusively. This style has been a fad in the US since the mid-1990s and was made popular by Atlanta-based wedding photographer Dennis Reggie, considered as the pioneer of modern wedding photojournalism.
The exhibit began as an experiment . He approached fellow photographer Dino Lara who specializes in wedding photography, and the two ask Mr. Lara’s clients if he could join the team and shoot photos of his own in the photojournalism style. When the photos were printed, the couple was very appreciated of Mr. Cortez’s experimental shots.
He attended six weddings to try out photojournalism as applied to a highly personal event such as a wedding. And the result was the same each time—couples these days are searching of a more personal touch in wedding coverage that traditional wedding photographers tend to overlook. These candid moments make the wedding album more specific to the couple and more memorable to all those involved.
“I did not do this to impress Mr. Lara’s clients because this is a personal experiment and not a commercial venture,” Mr. Cortez said. “ I just wanted to test myself and see firsthand what this wedding photojournalism is about. While I was taking photos, I did not bother about what the couple wanted because I was not being paid to take these photos. This is my own pursuit. The photographers they hired to cover the event take care of the posed shots while I take only the shots that I wanted to.”
It is interesting to note that Mr. Cortez is not new to the wedding coverage business. Weddings were his bread and butter in the late 80’s. At that time, a script was made and the number of shots taken were very specific. If the pictures did not turn out well, he could not do anything about it because he is given only five rolls for the whole event.
When he joined BusinessWorld in 1994 he focused on serious photojournalism. This return to his “roots” proved to be a culture shock. But a wedding is always an excellent source of beautiful images. .And as the experiment progressed, the satisfaction derived from it increased as well.
His favorite photo in the exhibit in the exhibit is that of a flower girl sitting on the floor. Serving as the back ground are the bridemaids and the groom’s men—or rather their lower bodies, showing the wedding from a child’s perspective .This photo, Mr. Cortez explained , is the one that all the members of the entourage can relate to. She appears as the universal little sister that everyone wants to dress up and show off as their little angel.
“Wedding Celebrations 2001” will have over 150 exhibitors turning the hotel’s convention center into a one-stop wedding shop. Activities include hair and make up test sessions, wedding cake samplings, consultations by videographers, photo studios and wedding planners. The highlights include the launch of Bride and Home magazine, and a bridal fashion show.