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Basotho Wedding

Discussion in 'Street, Documentary, and Portrait' started by Wes7, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. Wes7

    Wes7 Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 22, 2011
    I had the opportunity to photograph part of a wedding awhile back, and thought I would put up a quick photo-essay about it here. This is the first time I have attempted wedding photography, and it was quite the learning experience. I, fortunately, was not the official photographer. I would hate to have that kind of pressure!

    Some things I learned about wedding photography:

    1. ISOs. I would like more of them.
    2. As it turns out, primes aren't ideal for everything. I've never changed lenses so much so quickly.

    The wedding, in typical Lesotho fashion, started about four hours late. But man, did it ever start. A parade of cars roared up to the chapel and dumped out a hoard of attendees, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, ring bearers, dancers, musicians, and family members. After some time, all the participants gathered in front of the chapel to welcome the bride and proceed in to the chapel. What a welcome! The bride and groom led in a parade of dancers, singers, musicians, flower girls, and ring bearers. Inside, everyone was up dancing, jumping in to the aisles, and generally giving the whole affair a true sense of celebration.

    It was fascinating to see the differences in such a universally shared custom from one culture to another. In Lesotho, many well-to-do brides have two weddings. This was the "white" or Western wedding. The following week, they were having a traditional wedding! I can't even imagine the scene there!

    Getting ready:
    PC171033 by Brandi and Wes, on Flickr

    Unlike in the States, everybody gathers at the bride's home to prepare for the wedding. Once everybody is put together, they parade through town to the chapel. All the cars are decorated for the occasion.
    PC171021 by Brandi and Wes, on Flickr

    This woman was prepared for a celebration. She brought her own instruments, in the form of a couple tin cans.
    PC171026 copy by Brandi and Wes, on Flickr

    The dancers and singers covered their faces in glitter, making for some stunning photo opportunities.
    PC171056_1 by Brandi and Wes, on Flickr

    There was an army of ring bearers. The little guys were everywhere.
    PC171037 by Brandi and Wes, on Flickr

    The groom nervously waited in a car for the bride to arrive. Once there, they proceeded arm-in-arm to the chapel.
    PC171141 by Brandi and Wes, on Flickr

    PC171147 copy by Brandi and Wes, on Flickr

    This flower girl photographed beautifully. I have half a dozen shots of her on my hard drive. I have to credit luck more than skill on this shot- I shot it with a 50mm 1.8 wide open, and didn't have time to check the focus as each member of the procession walked by!
    PC171158 by Brandi and Wes, on Flickr

    This kid was way more interested in the photographer than in the wedding.
    PC171181 by Brandi and Wes, on Flickr

    The procession danced down the aisle.
    PC171197 by Brandi and Wes, on Flickr

    PC171229 by Brandi and Wes, on Flickr

    PC171248 by Brandi and Wes, on Flickr
    • Like Like x 7
  2. snkenai

    snkenai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    Beautiful set!
  3. derick

    derick Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 13, 2011
    Nice work. Makes me wish I'd had a better camera and skills when I was living in rural SA.
  4. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Interesting pictorial documentary Wes. It's nice to see some pictures on the forum as there's been a lot of talk about gear lately. A breath of fresh air.
    Great job on capturing the excitement and joy of the occasion. The flower girl is amazing considering you took it with a manual lens. If it were me I wouldn't have been quick enough to get it in focus as she walked past.


  5. isabel95

    isabel95 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Fabulous set of shots. Definitely a cut above the ordinary! Did you get to shoot the traditional wedding?
  6. avidone

    avidone Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 24, 2011
    Rome, Italy
    Great pics, Wes. I have just started catching up with some of the street photo posts after traveling for some weeks then being way-laid by a cold.

    I really like lots of your shots, and especially seeing "street" from an African perspective, since most of what we have otherwise is from the other continents (though weak on South America... wish we could also see more of that as well)... of course, your own particular "eye" to the shots is what makes them the most
  7. Wes7

    Wes7 Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 22, 2011
    Thanks for all the kind comments!

    Derick, where in SA were you located?

    Icon, I wish I could claim to have great MF skills, but that shot was mostly luck (on the focus, anyways)

    Isabel, I was out of town during the traditional wedding, so I missed it. Thanks for the kind words!
  8. Great set! Those shots of the kids are really special. Nice work.
  9. derick

    derick Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 13, 2011
    I was in the Transkei, mostly (about 18 months), near the coast by Dwesa-Cwebe Nature Reserve. Also lived in Grahamstown and Cape Town a bit. Most of my pics were on slide film, & remain unscanned...
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