Japan

My Wedding Photos: The beginning

Now I know what you might be thinking from reading the title. No, I didn’t get married in Japan and the wedding photos aren’t about my wedding. In fact I don’t even know the people in the wedding photos that I took but alas I ended up as a wedding photographer and here is how it all began.

As I have said before, Japan is full of temples and Shinto weddings are increasingly uncommon in a country that has adapted and adopted many western wedding traditions. These two points are very important in understanding why it is that I started to take photos of newlyweds. First of all, I went to a lot of temples/shrines while in Japan and I mean A LOT! Which is to say that my chances of running into a Shinto wedding were increased that much more than the average Japanese person or tourist. Naturally as someone who likes to take photos I ended up capturing many of these ceremonies throughout my stay in Japan.

Miyajima Wedding. Itsukushima Shrine. Eri and Akihiro. July 8, 2015...
Miyajima wedding

My first experience with weddings here I have already talked about in my post on Miyajima. It was really interesting to see a traditional ceremony though if I’m honest I would not be comfortable having the ceremony performed in front of random people as they passed by.

On another occasion, while visiting Hakone on a UCEAP excursion I was able to take some pictures of a couple while walking around the lake. This photo that I captured is one of my favorites because of the setting sun, the reflection on the lake and the silhouette of the newlywed husband and wife.

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A personal favorite: Newlyweds and the Hakone sunset

My next two photos are from two separate occasions of visiting Meiji Shrine which as it turns out is a popular place to see newlyweds. In fact on the first visit I saw five couples who performed their wedding ceremony together and subsequently paraded in a wedding procession.

There’s something beautiful about witnessing weddings abroad, especially witnessing weddings of traditional style that are different from one’s own. Given the context of a decreasing population in Japan and the rarity of marriages in general, being able to see ceremonies like this is very special.

For my part it started a bit of a hobby or challenge of trying to capture weddings in the different countries that I visited. Japan was just the beginning.

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My second visit to Meiji Shrine, another couple gets married
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