I usually love shooting in black and white, especially when the request is for a candid wedding photography vibe. This is true in almost all cases, EXCEPT when you are commissioned for Tibetan Wedding photography, with over 5oo people in attendance! After the initial shock of being selected for something so exciting, and that I’ve kind of dreamed about doing in the past, I came back to earth and started planning. The couple was extremely laid back, and didn’t want any posed images. In fact they were downright camera shy. But no worries, they were really fun to be around, and I’d certainly do it all over again.
I began at the Boro Hotel in Long Island City, NY. getting a little bit of the bridal AND groom prep :). Niyma and G had already had their first wedding in India, so this was their second celebration. They were old hands at it by this p0int. As always, I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible, simply observing the room to capture candid moments. As they were getting changed, G was attempting to explain the differences in his attire in comparison to Niyma’s. G is from India, and Niyma is from Tibet, so their styles of clothes were different. What made me super excited was all of the color I saw, and the fact that G told me there would be a whole lot more… He certainly wasn’t lying.
After we left the Boro Hotel, I went ahead to Astoria World Manor to set up. I knew it was supposed to be a big wedding, but it didn’t really hit me until I was escorted to their largest ballroom that was set up for 500+ guests. Talking to the taxi driver, he explained to me how in the Tibetan community weddings of this nature are considered a celebration for everyone. That’s one of the reasons there were so many guests coming. Niyma said there are no RSVPs, once the announcements go out, everybody shows up.
This blog post could go on and on, but I have to mention just how friendly and cordial everyone was. People showed up dressed in everything from extremely formal traditional clothes, to people who just got off work and wanted to enjoy the festivities and grab a bite to eat. Something that was really touching and stuck with me was when Kunchok, Niyma’s sister who planned this whole thing, kept pleading with everyone to eat and drink as much as they wanted. It was as if the wedding was just as much of an event for the community, than it was for Niyma and G. It was certainly a privilege to be a part of it. I learned so much about the culture, and I’ll certainly be in all the right places in my next Tibetan wedding, because there were certainly a lot of places to be. It was an awesome experience!