We were connected with Nadia and Lawrence through what we like to call our “Taiwanese Connection” (because it makes us sound really hardcore and mysterious). This connection is actually our former bride Grace, whose wedding to Yitao we photographed in Taipei back in 2011. We had such a great time with these two and the feeling must have been mutual because we have since traveled to Japan and Bhutan for weddings that she recommended us for. It was notable that Nadia and Lawrence’s wedding in California’s wine country would be the first time we saw this group of friends outside of Asia! After working as an unofficial wedding consultant for her friends, we were both thrilled and unsurprised when Grace announced that she would be the official wedding planner for this wedding, a business she hopes to continue expanding.
The weddings we had the pleasure of documenting in Taiwan, Japan, and Bhutan were all so unique in their own way, and Nadia and Lawrence’s was no exception. They chose Sonoma for its undeniable beauty and delicious wine, and we got all that and then some at Kunde Estate. They picked only their favorite Taiwanese tradition, the door games, and kept the rest of the day nice and simple with a short ceremony officiated by a friend, followed by cocktails, a first dance, dinner, and a few speeches.
Don’t think that because the traditional Taiwanese part of the day was short that this means the girls took it easy on Lawrence and his groomsmen! In order for Lawrence to earn the right to see Nadia, the guys had to reenact some complicated gymnastics poses, pop balloons between their legs, and remove pantyhose from over their faces without using their hands. But it was all worth it once the two were reunited again, and we finally got to witness the sweetness between them. Daniel and I got to spend some additional time with Nadia and Lawrence as we took them around the property for portraits, and the kindness and respect they have for one another was evidenced by the sweet, helpful gestures they offer each other. Getting around a vineyard in a wedding dress has it’s challenges, but Lawrence was always up for lending his bride a helpful hand.
It was an honor to share in the lovely union of these two individuals, in the always stunning setting of California’s finest landscapes. Thank you to Grace, Lawrence and Nadia for making us a part of it.
Last week, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Oaxaca to attend a workshop with David Alan Harvey, and spend 8 days photographing the Day of the Dead festivities. David is an incredible photographer who has been shooting assignments for National Geographic for many years, and is part of the prestigious Magnum association. His body of work is a big inspiration to us, to say the least.
“Dia de los Muertos” is, in simple words, a celebration of death. It’s a week-long festival like no other, during which locals & tourists gather in different parts of town, dance, drink mezcal, and remember loved ones. Though it might seem like a sombre topic, it was really beautiful to see how the people of Oaxaca take pride in this holiday, and are happy to talk about the ones who have passed on.
During the 8 days, we travelled to small towns, remote cemeteries, and took in the culture in many different ways. Above, you will find a few of my favourite images, and you can browse through more on our KUDA site, which is dedicated to our travel & commercial work. I have uploaded more photos there, with captions, which tell a little bit more about the story. Visit the site HERE.
Several photographers have asked me why I took this workshop and what I have gotten out of it. As an artist, I simply never feel like I am done growing, and am always thirsty to learn something new. It’s the same reason why we attend conferences & listen to other photographers speak. I have always admired David’s career, and knew that he would be someone I would love to learn more from. My goal was to learn more about building a story, especially in a setting outside of weddings.David pushed me to capture images with more soul, emotion, and to shoot from the heart. It took me a few days to grasp the concept, but it eventually clicked with me. At the end of the workshop, the entire class put a group slideshow together, which was presented in front of the art community and locals, at a gallery in Oaxaca. It was truly a memorable experience.
A special thank you goes out to David, for his mentorship & guidance, as well as to all of the fellow classmates, who were a continuous source of inspiration and support during the week. And of course, none of it would be possible without my beautiful Davina, who acted as my photo editor from back home, helping me narrow down my images & pick the best ones from each day for critiques.