H + V | Elopement Hochzeit in der Wüste Sahara
"Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an unexhaustable well yet everything happens on a certain number of time, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your life, some afternoon that's so deeply part of your being that you can't ever consider your life without it, perhaps four or five time more, perhaps not even that ? how many more times will you watch the full moon rises ? Perhaps twenty, and yet it all seems limitless."
- The Sheltering Sky (1949)
I ran across the sand dunes just like Travis did for five days without a break in Paris, Texas and fell, face down against the sand of Sahara. In the late afternoon, under the harsh sunlight over the endless sky, silky smooth and burning hot sand on the cheek brought me back to the past 25 years ago, half way around the earth. The neon light flashes in my head as if there were two nerve impulses in the brain accidentally find each other and ignite the corresponding frame that appears in a thousand blink of an eye.
That quote echoes in our mind every single time we shoot an elopement: How many more times will the couple remember a certain afternoon of their life like this, some afternoon that's so deeply part of their being that they can't ever consider their life without it? This is why shooting elopements is so different than weddings. You're going to spend a lots of time with us on the road and the journey itself counts just as much, if not more, as the final images. We want it to be unforgettable for you, for us.
Shooting a wedding is not an easy task, but also that's why shooting elopement is tricky. But so rewarding. You don't have a timeline, a schedule, anything to follow. You build it from scratch. Working out a two way relationship between us, when mutual trust is one of the most important elements. Our couples told us, "We saw a lots of wedding photography taking over the internet and they all seem not really real and honest. Seriously, are you going to run around holding hands, hugging, kissing non-stop like that all day when doing an adventure?"
Yeah fuck that.
Fuck posing cues.
Fuck consistent look.
Fuck the industry standard.
Fuck all the bullshit mimics.
Are they real people with real emotions, feelings and personal stories need to be told in a way that truly reflects their personalities or are they just another number in our book, some soulless mannequins that we can apply some fucking formulaic treatment written by a guy sitting in the office that makes us all cringe?
I remember myself loving David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia since forever. A masterpiece – it inspired how I shot and envisioned this story so much. That masterpiece epic of cinema doesn’t need any introduction. Sweeping, epic and literate version of British adventurer and soldier T. E. Lawrence’s experiences in Arabia during the First World War. Set against a backdrop of the Arabian desert, David Lean frames the screen like a painter paints a canvas with the help of Freddie Young’s stunning cinematography to bring Lean’s vision to life.
Of course the locations and landscapes and sceneries in Morocco are jaw-dropping but what’s even more important is the people we spent time with. That's why we said above that shooting elopement is tricky. It's easy to lose your way and focus and turn a destination elopement story into a travel commercial that prioritize landscape over people, who should be in the spot light. The location should complements the couple and their story, not the other way around. It's easy to take similar, monotonous photos, over and over again when it's just you and us. Same color, same pose, same lighting, same sense of place and time to iron out the Instagram feed. It's much harder to tell an unique story every time and we're still struggling, like the first day.
We remember the night in Sahara desert and there was a sandstorm and we were standing there, outside of our tents in the darkness to take a long exposure photograph of the Milky Way. 20 Seconds of Exposure, ISO 3200, Aperture f2. 20 Seconds of holding breath. 20 seconds of standing still in quietness and total darkness. So many thoughts about life and love happened in 20 seconds.
We remember the camel trekking into the sunset through the high sand dunes.
“We had a dream I stood beneath an orange sky.”
And now it came true.
We ran across the dunes and fell like idiots in order to take a shot from perspective we wanted without sabotaging the mood and the flow of their journey. Hiuman and Victor later said that watching us running and falling was one of the most vivid moments of the trip. We remember the ceremony at sunrise when Victor saw Hiuman in her wedding dress for the ﬁrst time on top of the camel. When she shredded tears while going down the memory lane seven years ago when they got together because of the trip to Morocco. So this place holds so much place in their heart.
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