Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Photographer

When I was told that we'd have an album as part of our wedding package, I wrongly assumed that this would comprise of a series of photographs taken during our wedding day. This is what wedding albums are in the UK - but it is not how things are done in Korea, where you take your wedding pictures before the event...

The day came when we had to travel to the other side of Busan to have our wedding photographs taken. Our schedule there began at 8am, requiring us to set off an hour earlier. Once there, we were sat down and makeup was applied over a period of an hour - to both me and my partner, which was a bit of a surprise. When we were done, we were then measured up for our first in a series of four outfits we would wear.

Once fitted into my first outfit - a long-tailed black suit - it was into the photography room which comprised of eight "sets" - basically different backgrounds for the photographs. The photographer proceeded to guide us into various poses, which in my case, involved a great deal of hand gesturing on his part, though he knew the words 'left', 'right' and 'stop' which helped.

And so the day unfolded. Change clothes, possibly apply more makeup, go back into the photography room, pose in a series of unlikely ways, and head back to the changing room for another round. The photo shoots were long, the various bits of waiting around inbetween sometimes longer, and the whole thing was wrapped up by two thirty when we chose out five photos we particularly liked, apparently for framing.

My outfits - which there was no choice of - were the long-tailed suit, another more conventional black suit, a Liberace style white suit which made me feel like a pimp, and finally, the piece de resistance - a traditional Korean costume complete with hat which balanced precariously on my head while squashing my ears with its considerable weight. The memorable backgrounds were a garden (inside of course), what appeared to be a girl's bedroom complete with teddy bears (slightly disturbing) and some kind of large stone wall affair which resembled some kind of dungeon (downright disturbing).

Now much as I would have liked to have taken photos of the day as it unfolded, I wisely decided that since I'd be changing frequently and moving around all day it would be best not to, so the only evidence I'll have in the end are what will be included in the album when it comes in a few weeks. It's tradition that the bride-to-be has a helper with her to fiddle with her clothing and ensure that she is looking her best, but while one of my partners friends volunteered, a staff member was provided for this purpose and the company was quite keen that we didn't bring anyone else with us - presumably to avoid any potential disruptions to their production-line-like system. But I wish there had been someone to take private photos of us because they would have been priceless.

We had to travel home through the subway with our makeup still on, which was rather embarrassing, and once home it took me about 20 minutes to get it off with a special solution. The irony is, they'll photoshop the images anyway for that final finish, and neither of us will look like we do in real-life anyway.

2 comments: said...

It's like that in Hong Kong, Chinese and Vietnamese weddings too. At the British Chinese photographic exhibition in the Portrait Gallery, London, there's a poster of one of the photos from a pre-wedding where it's done in the style of a film poster.

Seems odd to me that for a culture that prides itself in superstition, not talking about things till they happen etc., then you have the pre-wedding photo op...

Congratulations btw!

Jon Allen said...

wow. This is priceless stuff.

My wife just read some of it too
her comment was "You must really love this girl to go through with all that!"

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