I committed to posting here daily, and with the exception of two days where life simply got in the way, I’ve made it so far. One of those two days happened this weekend – I was too wrapped up with Farhana & Javad’s wedding weekend. It was the most amazing and incredible wedding, and completely reinforced how much I *love* photographing weddings full of culture and traditions – and lots and lots of color! We learned so much this weekend, and I’m forever grateful for Farhana & Javad and their family for teaching Elaine, Marc & I so much. I’m not exaggerating when I say that spending the past weekend with them has truly enriched my life.
One of the many things I learned through the planning of this wedding was about the practice of the hijab. From Wikipedia, “Hijab or ḥijāb (حجاب, pronounced [ħiˈdʒæːb] ) is the Arabic word for “curtain / cover” (noun), based on the root حجب meaning “to cover, to veil, to shelter”. In popular use, hijab means “head cover and modest dress for women” among Muslims … According to Islamic scholarship, hijab is given the wider meaning of modesty, privacy, and morality.”
For most of our weddings, we normally set up an online gallery that we launch with proofs a few weeks after the event (normally at the same time as the Premiere Party) and announce to the people who have pre-registered for the gallery. At my first meeting with Farhana, I asked her about how she would like to handle the gallery of images, as I knew this would be a concern. Out of respect for hijab, we have made special arrangements where Farhana will have access initially to all images, and she will then approve which sections we can release in a different gallery for the rest of the guests to view — and at that point, she will provide them with the access information. Photos from the Mendhi on Friday and the Nikah (wedding ceremony) on Saturday, which were women only events and where women were not in hijab, will not be released for public view out of respect for their beliefs, but we will instead create access for the women only to those images.
The week before the wedding, Elaine, Marc & I sat down with Farhana to discuss all four days of her wedding weekend to make sure we had everything covered to her wishes. We had a male photographer (the awesome Marc!) for the men’s events, including the Nikah at the Mosque which has male-only and female-only areas. While Farhana did not ask Elaine or I to dress in hijab, we did ask her what she wanted us to wear and we would have gladly done so if she had requested it.
My friend Ayesha has also helped to advise me on best practices for Muslim clients, and she has written a great post on her practices here, which has inspired this post. Thanks to her, I’ve found a lab that will work with me to insure that only a female technician will handle the photographs at clients requests, and I also have wedding album solutions in place for these same concerns – I will have prints created by the lab and create the album myself to insure the most privacy possible. I also make sure that only a female handles the images through the process of editing.
Speaking of privacy – I’ll be posting more from this past weekend, once I talk with Farhana and get her approval on the images!
I absolutely love working with weddings from different cultural and religious backgrounds. Ok, I love all weddings — I have the BEST job in the world!!! I can’t wait for our next one!