As a wedding photographer, I’m not always privy to all the little nuances that happen in families or friendships on a wedding day. I’m not there when the bride buys her gown, or a couple design their wedding rings.
I’m not there in the planning process to discover the choices my couples make – such as wearing jewellery or fob watches passed down from generation to generation.
But as I move through a busy wedding day, I’m not just looking for the obvious moments, but for the smaller stories. And there are stories wherever I look… although sometimes they need to be uncovered just a little.
This image here is about two things. Best friends and Red Kites.
This is Anokh and his best mate Bones. I took this image on a sweaty dance floor as the band belted out classic pop tunes, and wedding guests were cracking out booze fuelled dance moves.
It’s a fleeting emotional moment in time for sure. It could just be a hug from best man to best mate. But it’s a little more than that.
This is about cufflinks. Red Kite cufflinks.
Innocuous enough right? Just a pair of cufflinks in the shape of two silver birds. But you’d be wrong.
Red Kites are a beautiful bird of prey with a distinctive forked tail and reddish wings and bodies. They were almost hunted to extinction but thanks to a breeding programme, their numbers are now increasing. Shakespeare even referred to them in The Winters Tale. These magnificent birds mate for life and can often be seen soaring over the Harewood House estate which reintroduced them back in 1999. They are pretty awesome to watch as they catch the thermals and fly seemingly effortlessly through the sky.
A few years back, Anokh was having a tough time… the kind of times that bite you on the arse. The kind that leaves an indelible heavy mark on your heart. And so he met up with his best friend Bones. They talked and talked and eventually Bones told him how his own father would look to the skies whenever he was feeling down. And in those times he often searched for Red Kites flying overhead and revealed how their majesty would raise his spirits and give him chance to reassess and appreciate life for all its ups and downs. Bones too had taken to copying his Dad whenever he felt low, and now it was his turn to pass on the Red Kite magic to his best friend.
And so the Red Kite has a small place in Bones and Anokh’s heart. On the morning of his wedding, Anokh handed out silver cufflinks and brooches to his most important friends and family – passing on a little bit of that hope, a little bit of that majestic feeling of soaring amongst the clouds even when your heart is heavy.
So you see, this image is not just a big bear hug at the end of the night. It’s much more than that. It’s a Red Kite hug.
You can read more of my Fragments series here.