When I began my journey with wedding photography in India it was to become a book exploring the various traditions of Indian weddings. Traveling the length and breadth of India for the book, I was searching out differences and similarities in Indian wedding traditions, while trying to find a single theme that could explain the essence of this grand, colorful and fantastic celebration. It’s been a while and I am just about to complete shooting. The book is to be published with HarperCollins and It is now time of editing and selection. I must have close to 40,000 images to select from but some images are more likely than others to make it to the final selection. There are of course many others but here is a short selection of images that I like so far.
A traditional make-up for a Bengali bride. Maxima was definitely one of the most beautiful brides I’ve photographed. I simply loved how happy she was and how her face shined in this picture. A simple shot, and such a happy one. (Maxima and Abhijit’s Bengali ceremony in Delhi)
During a wedding in Chennai, I could see the bride was going to cry so I picked up my second camera with 35mm lens and waited for this shot to happen. A split second later she wiped the tear and was smiling again. (Nitya & Sharath’s Tamil-Brahmin wedding in Chennai)
A quiet moment in the dressing room. A Rajput bride just before the wedding ceremony. Rajputs are instructed by the family members not to show any sign of happiness during their wedding and behave in a ‘Royale’ manner. There was not one smile during the entire wedding. To be true to the facts one must say that prior to the wedding itself, the Rajput bride danced in joy along with her relatives on her sangeet to a Bipasha Basu hit no. (Kanupriya & Ravindra’s Rajput wedding in Gwalior)
A bride waiting for her husband-to-be behind a veil during a wedding in Andra Pradesh. I had to pick up the veil and almost go in with her in order to get this intimate picture of solitude. (Sameera & Pradeep’s wedding in Visakhapatnam)
A baraat procession during a Hindu punjabi wedding. I wanted to get the shot of the people carrying the lamps and had to work without a flash for that or I would have changed the image completely and loose the entire feel of the night lit by the lanterns. The light falling on the bridegroom and his horse came out just the way I had hoped. (Karishma & Rishabh’s wedding in Delhi)
I loved the tired face of the couple waiting for the photogrtaphers to finish harassing them. A photo session like this takes place before the wedding and could sometime last close to two hours! The couple is seated on a podium and the entire family and guests come up to great them and have their picture taken. It was otherwise, a very happy wedding indeed. (Karishma & Rishabh’s wedding in Delhi)
The ultimate close-up of an Indian bride’s hands during the ceremony. (Karishma & Rishabh’s wedding in Delhi)
During a Kashmiri Pundit wedding I saw the priest holding a plastic miror in his hand. I had a feeling it was going to be used for the bride and groom to look at each other so quickly positioned myself just behind them and was ready as the priest held his hand out just for a second in front of the couple. It is one of those shots that one can never get unless you wait for them to happen. (Anuradha & Nikhil’s Kashmiri Pundit wedding in Delhi)
A muslim bride signs the Nikha in front of the mulah. The bridesgroom signs the Nikah separately and then the couple are pronounced married. The entire ceremony took one minute and the wedding was over. (Aashti & Zahid’s Muslim wedding in Delhi)
No wedding in India is complete without Hijras. One cannot anticipate when or where they will show up so cannot plan to photograph them, but I needed pictures of this ‘ceremony’ for my book. I finally got ‘lucky’ outside the gate of a large farm house where a Sikh wedding reception was taking place. Shot with available light under the street light. I absolutely love the colors and the feel of this image.
Behind The Indian Veil is the result of Sephi Bergerson’s seven year photographic journey through wedding in India. This lavishly produced hard-cover coffee table book brings the beauty of India’s wedding traditions, its people and its amazing stories into stunning focus.
Sephi Bergerson is a wedding photographer based in India since 2002 and is available for Indian wedding photography, destination wedding photography in Udaipur, Jaipur, palace weddings in Rajasthan or a beach wedding in Goa or Kerala. Sephi is also happy to travel for wedding photography in Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritius, Maldives, Thailand and Sri Lanka.