18 Mar 2013

My first Thai wedding. Part II: the guests

Early morning, as soon as I arrived to the house, the preparations were already on their way and, as I still had some time before I could start taking pictures of the bride and the groom, I decided to walk around the village for a while, to breath the fresh air of the countryside and see for myself how life was unfolding, full of its daily routines. It didn't take long to realize that everything seemed to follow the same patterns as any other day; that a wedding, in a community like this, is lived as part of the usual flow of things.

Morning walk, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm

Flower arrangements, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm

As much as I enjoyed photographing the couple at every stage of the ceremony, I couldn't help but focusing my attention in the guests that were gathering in the house yard. This being a modest ceremony held at home in a small, unglamorous rural village of Northeastern Thailand, there were no fancy clothes or hair styles, make-ups or jewels to show off; instead, it was all about the looks and glances, smiles and nods, about the affectionate gestures and touches of these people who were just being themselves as any other normal day. 

Retinue, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm

I was touched by their absolute naturalness and lack of concern for any formality: they were among neighbors and friends, and that sense of familiarity was evident in the way they interacted with each other. There was no place for rigidness or ostentation, they were all equals sitting together on the same rugged floor. No more, and no less. From kids to elders all at the same level.

The gathering, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm

Women world, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm

And even though I was obviously the discordant element in the party, the foreigner with the camera against his eye at all times, they seemed totally unconcerned and untroubled by my presence; I tried my best to be as discreet and silent as possible, and using a medium telephoto lens was helpful in this matter, as I didn't need to stay near the couple, amidst all the sitting people, instead being able to photograph all from a reasonable and unobtrusive distance. And grabbing some close-ups of small details, along the way.

Resting, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm

Praying, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm

It's no surprise to me that the two targets I unconsciously and constantly focus on are elders, and kids. I always find a magical spark in their eyes that catches my attention without fail, their ingenuity or disinterest, their innocence or wisdom, their wonder or kindness. There are many adjectives, but images suffice. This is a photography blog, after all.

The hairgrip, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm

Eyes that wonder, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm

Shy, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm

Hope, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm

The people disappeared gradually and silently, resuming their tasks and chores, and only some kids remained in the yard, playing loudly with each other, but night was looming up and it was time for everybody to return to their homes and let the happy house rest a bit, after such a busy day. It has been a terrific day, and I will make sure not to forget it. 

The ride, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm

Links, GH3 + Lumix G Vario 12-35mm

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