I value my profession of a photographer for many reasons. For the independence which it gives me, but most of all for the opportunity to meet new people, cultures, places. Apart from civil ceremony, I also photograph ceremonies in Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Nigerian, Chinese, Jewish, Orthodox, Armenian and mixed traditions. There are often two weddings which take even three filming days. The couple celebrates a traditional engagement party, a civil ceremony, and a traditional wedding. For me it is often a several weeks’ adventure, because these ceremonies don’t always take place day after day but they are spread over weeks. The opportunity to meet the same guests for the second and third time gives me a fantastic possibility to work in a familiar environment, in which I am often already accepted as a “family member”.  The orders, however, give me a chance to meet the previous couples a few months or years after their own wedding.

The possibility to work on a wedding documentary in the Muslim tradition one day, and in the Jewish tradition the next day just confirms me in the conviction that the same values are important all over the world, no matter the faith. Despite obvious differences resulting from tradition, every wedding has common elements. Preparations, ceremony, vows, reception. These common elements can be diametrically different, and depending on the tradition they can be more or less important.

Painting with henna at bride’s home, building a mandala, a ceremonial bath for the bride and groom, a ceremony of blessing at groom’s home, sprinkling the doorstep with milk, “buying out” of the fiancée as part of games, giving the bride’s hand by her father, girding the bride and groom with a wreath of flowers in a temple, exchange of wedding rings, fastening the bride’s necklace, exchange of a goblet with wine, the first kiss, breaking the plates, crushing a glass with one’s foot, signing a marriage certificate, throwing the coins at the bride and groom, pouring rice or flower petals, offering a wedding cake, performing the first dance, dancing on chairs, dancing with a jug on one’s head, throwing a garland, a bow-tie, a tie, games for guests and many other traditional elements which distinguish individual ceremonies. No two weddings are the same, even within the same culture they can differ with regards to the number of traditional elements and the way they are carried out.

Frequently, in spite of the same tradition, some of them are more important, and some of them are less important. In my relationship with a customer – if I deal with a traditional wedding, I always make sure which elements exactly are going to appear during the day. I am always close to the events in such situations, even if there are 800+ people at the wedding, my place is near the bride and groom, or in the place where the most important things happen. At bigger weddings, or if the customer expressly requests this, I work with an additional photographer. My task is to be present at the most important events, with bride and groom as the epicentre, and the task of the second photographer is to capture all the emotions which accompany the background – that is guests who surround me and the young couple.

In my career I have had the experience of organising my trips to weddings in various parts of Europe and the world. For more information visit the “destinations” page. To see the portfolio with photos for different traditions, visit the following galleries.