A HERITAGE-INSPIRED ANNIVERSARY PHOTO SHOOT
Most of my avid followers will now be aware of the surprise heritage-inspired photo shoot that Dr. C organised during our recent trip to Italy. If not head on over to the gram for all the spam! It therefore only seems apt that I write about the occasion. After all your personal messages, I know you’re dying to know the story behind the inspiration! Additionally, I’ve been inundated with messages about the photo shoot, so been, as you ask so politely about getting to know more about me and the glorious man I married, I hope I deliver the goods commendably. Additionally this one’s a personal one conveyed directly from the heart of yours truly with the help of Dr C.
A BLOSSOMING ROMANCE
Dr C and I first met 14 years ago, however to say it was love at first sight would be a real travesty! There was nothing that I found attractive about this green-eyed, arrogant (he says it’s confident, I think I agree now!) public school boy except that he had good looks, charm and intelligence well and truly lodged on his side! Oh, and he appreciated a mutual dry-humoured joke topped with a thick coating of sarcasm! When we finally decided this friendship had transitioned into a romance and mutually declared that this was the real deal, in terms of the ‘L’ word, it was time to share the news…
We proceeded to make our relationship public in terms of telling our close friends, parents and siblings. I was always mindful that Dr C came from a very middle-class, affluent background and well, to be frank he was white Caucasian and bought up a Christian! Deep down, I always thought that my parents would be disappointed with my choice of partner because Dr C wasn’t Indian, couldn’t speak the language, didn’t know the culture and would basically not fit in with my family life in terms of Hindu traditions. But how wrong was I?! After the initial awkward meeting, Dr C was welcomed into the family and soon won over the hearts and souls of those closest to me. If he couldn’t turn up to a family event, he would be the one that was missed the most! Traitors right?! They all forgot the person who introduced them to this guy!
I do and always will stand true to the belief that love is love and you really can’t help who you will walk this path with! Lucky for me, I come from a family where my dad always put my happiness before anyone or anything.
The thing about loving someone irrespective of if they come from the same background, ethnicity, religion or race as yourself is that it really is all about give and take. You have to really immerse yourself into their life, their culture and invest the time to get to know those they hold so dear to them. It sounds obvious doesn’t it and pertinent to every relationship in life? But you know what, in a inter-racial relationship there are many more external pressures and obstacles waiting to gun you down. The stares, whispers, personal attacks and back-handed comments (yes even in 2018!) cut deep and are even salt-coated at times, especially when they come from those you thought were your friends. But, one thing’s a dead cert, solidarity is paramount.
Learning about the Hindu culture, customs and language is no easy task but Dr C has mastered the art and made it look childs play!
If you’ve read my ‘A land that a girl knows as Africa’ post you’ll know that my parents originate from East Africa and arrived in the UK during the Idi Amin revolt. They built up their lives from scratch in a foreign land they knew nothing about. They worked hard to give my brother and I an incredible life filled with everything they never had, from an exceptional education to unconditional support, but most of all love. They taught us that everyone who walks this earth is an equal, kindness and mutual respect is key. Staying true to your roots and each other is the greatest act of humility. Something I understand and resonate with more in adulthood.
PROPOSAL & WEDDING
Dr C asked my dad for my hand in marriage two years before he actually asked me! I can’t figure out if that was because he was trying to plan the perfect proposal or if he just bottled it previously! But when he finally did, it was quite the knock out moment and he became the envy of many ladies out there! We took a helicopter ride to the base of the Grand Canyon, where he got down on one knee to pop the question. He also made sure I was well fuelled on the champagne picnic so I couldn’t say No! Just for the record, I was always going to say yes…eventually! I have to admit it was pretty special. I joke all the time, how will he ever top this moment?! Maybe he peeked too early but I’m not complaining!
Our much sought after intimate Hindu wedding ceremony in Bali was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances but replaced by a civil wedding and Hindu blessing in my family’s local temple, followed by a small evening reception. It was a compromise but the end goal had been achieved, we were married. For those who asked, it was at this point that we vowed to take a honeymoon pretty much every year on our anniversary, but not before ticking off the destinations of New York, Thailand, Bali and Singapore for our actual honeymoon!
THE PHOTO SHOOT
Now we’re done with the history, back on track with the heritage-inspired photo shoot. For our 8th wedding anniversary, we’d planned to head back to Italy (we seem to go every year!) and include a stay in Florence but concentrate the rest of the stay in different locations on the Amalfi Coast. Dr C had to tie this trip in with seeing his most favourite part of Italy, Tuscany. Being a country boy at heart, he had the idea of combining my Indian and East African heritage with a photo shoot in the Tuscan countryside. He picked the medieval town of Montefioralle, which we visited together previously (for more inspiration refer to my previous post, exploring Tuscany’s medieval towns) and was one of my most favourites in Tuscany. But this would be no ordinary photo shoot as he wanted us to dress in traditional Indian clothing and that to be black and gold.
His vision was to create a timeless classy, elegant set of photos that would capture his dearest part of Italy with some professionally created images.
You may remember, a post I wrote last year about, discovering destination photography with Flytographer, well it seems Dr C was so impressed with these images that, he picked the same man for the job again – Alberto Sarrantonio. We had forged quite a good relationship with him and so it seemed best to go with someone that we were familiar with and trusted. Dr C informed me that he had put the plans in motion some months back with recommendations from Alberto on locations in Tuscany.
I’ve eluded many times to the fact that I hate being the centre of attention and most of all do not like being in front of the camera. I know this is strange to believe considering firstly, my dad was a photographer and took thousands of photos of me throughout my life; secondly, I have a blog! Anyway it’s fact! I have to admit I’m never going to be that comfortable in front of the camera but I think Alberto fulfilled Dr C ‘s brief perfectly. He’s truly exceptional at what he does. Believe me, I’m not just singing his praises because I know him!
Alberto seems to have the ability to create a relaxed environment, provide the right amount of humour to de-fluster a situation and obviously doesn’t make you do anything you don’t want to (no awkward poses or body extensions!) You know my feelings on public displays of affection! My only specifications were no snogging, kissing or ‘get a room’ type situation and of course cheesy is just vomit-inducing to look back on in years to come! I have to say all these were respected in full!
A couple of days before we left for Florence, Dr C told me we were having this photo shoot and that I’d be wearing Indian clothes of his choice, which I was relieved were actually very classy. But that is all I knew. I wasn’t aware of the location or any other details apart from who the photographer was. Dr C did have specific things in mind for the session and these were that in order to fit in with the heritage theme, he wanted details of the outfits, which symbolise the craftsmanship of Indian artistry, as well as specific back drops featuring vineyards and the stoned wall architecture of Montefioralle.
If you’ve ever pondered on the thought of having a photo shoot, I have to say it’s a great way to capture memories however, I will say you have to be really into it and commit yourself for that time. Take the time to think about location, what you want to portray, the feelings you want to capture of the moment, but most of all be realistic in terms of expectations of the session, remember photographers are not magicians. If I quote a certain photographer, you ARE supposed to enjoy it!!
I’m not really one for surprises however I guess this one didn’t turn out so bad after all! For all you ladies out there who sent me messages of Dr C being the perfect gent and me being so very lucky to be married to him…I just want to say, he is a gent and of course he has exceptional taste, he married me! Lets just keep the husband-praise between us for now!
It seems a husband and a great photographer thousands of miles away put a fantastic plan together and succeeded for the most part – I’ll let them off for the bad car sickness, which may require more attention, if any re-attempts are in the pipeline!!
Anyway less of the coma-provoking waffle from me, feel free to tell me what you thought of the photos in the comments below. No pressure but Dr C picked them!
Would you consider a photo shoot to mark a special occasion or to indulge in some great memories? If it’s for you then I know just the man…
Photography: Alberto Sarrantonio, Florence. Italy
Outfits: Nims Boutique, Leicester. UK
Jewellery: Rituals Art Jewellery, Leicester. UK