Sometime ago, let me check the exif of my pictures… yes it was the 20th of June 2009, exactly 10 years apart from my yesterday’s visit again, I was at the castle of Stameriena, Latvia, making a photo report about the son of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lapedusa (the writer), Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi visiting this castle where his father and wife once lived. Just 10 years, I can’t say why it took me like an urge to go there again without realizing it was such an anniversary.
I had this great opportunity to meet the Prince, thanks to Gabriele Bonafede I met in my early days of my life in Latvia. He was working there as well, but above all he was moved by a dream project to realize a movie about the life of Lampedusa. Luckily he was the current prince’s acquaintance. This is how I found myself following them into a journey in the great story of a legendary writer.
Walking in the park I came across those two binding trees, I vaguely remembered something was told about them related to Love. I took a picture. Editing the picture my idea was to asked Gabriele to tell me more. He promptly replied to me saying that there is indeed a Legend of Love that he is revealing in a very special way into the book he wrote last year about the story of Lampedusa. Here follows the text he kindly wrote for me :
This trip to Iceland was on my bucket list for a while. It is wedding photographs of elopement to this country that made me dream to go there, which I finally succeeded to organize. But the reality surpassed my expectations by far. For this first trip, we stayed in the south part of the island, 2000 km done going here and there. Yes mainly car as we were the three of us meaning including our little girl which made it hard to trek. Then we somehow took the tourist road but escaping from it as soon as we could to discover magnificent landscapes.See Full Story
I do not remember since how long I go to this place, but I do remember I spent 1 week to review my baccalaurÃ©at exams when I was 18 years old… That’s a while. The feeling remains the same, beautiful nature, fresh air, you can relax, go hiking and feel the energy of being in the mountains. I love to hike and travel, different places or the same years after years, there is always something to photograph, even if it is the same scenery, the pictures are always different.
We are in the middle of France, the Limousin, a region that is loosing its inhabitants. The city hall will host only 2 weddings this year, you bet it was then an event. The wedding is simple, as simple as we can imagine, colours are popping from everywhere, it is an absolute eclectic assortment of people and things. But when I look at the report I find a sense of harmony… Why this feeling is so intense and present ? From all speeches I heard I started to understand. What is binding all those people together is the extraordinary friendship and love shared between friends and family. And this couple is clearly the link for all that magic.
A magical wedding that proves that if the heart is there you don’t need a super fancy avenue, a fancy everything to make it extraordinary. A lot of do it yourself, a pinch of craziness, welcoming everybody in your summer house, get the barn from the neighbor, set the tents in the garden, bring some food, a good beer, then let it happen. Laugh and happy cry. Take my hand and follow me, I’ll show how it looks to be genuine, simple and pure, to be free as the wind and to dance under the stars.
Old colored walls, cracks, paint pealing off, small streets going up and down the hills. Clothes drying at every windows along with graffitis on many walls or more traditionally the ceramics tiles. As if the walls always have to be covered by something.
Cars everywhere, how not becoming crazy to find a place where to park there ?
Then a must see place, Factory LX with all their handy craft shops, restaurants.
But the best souvenir will be the taste of it, have you ever eaten their Pasteis de nata ? By itself it would make you go back !
When Flanders decide to go south it gives a Miami like wedding. Forget the formal and classic (Groom’s father wearing converse shoes, yes you can see it on one of the pictures) and so it went for this more than friendly wedding feast. It goes up to the very little details of the groom’s suit which design was thought by himself. That was for sure a wedding made at their image.
Everywhere they go, Hans & Eline are always accompanied by their most faithful companions. It is no surprise then to have two dogs as their witnesses. At our first meeting, the question was if I am afraid of dogs… Nope, I replied, but frankly, how can you be afraid of those two real gentlemen! Are you?
Today, I can’t stop thinking how special this wedding was to me. It resonated deep inside of me. Flanders is the origin of my family. I spend time in my youth visiting my relatives. Just to hear them talking revived all bunch of great memories. That’s one thing. The rest, the couple brought it to me with their simplicity, trust, warmth, taste and letting things be just as easy as they can be. That really made this wedding report totally special. There was definitively something in the air, smooth, easy going and then at one point going totally wild. So it goes when you love for real.
A special thanks to Priscilla the wedding planner who help organizing that day.
Summer ends so quickly here. Rain invited itself for this celebration day but who cares, nobody complains this is not the matter this day. In Latvia people enjoy the time spent together. See people laughing, smiling, bringing tears in bride’s eyes. It is so warm and intense.
Even the manager of the Semarah Hotel was nice and helpful to let us shoot the first look in the movie theater as it was clear we could not do anything outdoor because of the non stopping rain. Though the clouds decided to give us a break and we managed to do the couple session in the forest and on the beach with only a few drops, a miracle. This couple is really one for another. It was a pleasure being their photographer and depict this love, simple and true. I’ll grab those words from Kathleen Edwards song: “You don’t even have to speak if you keep looking at me.”. It says it all.
A few tips to understand some pictures. One usage is to present to the newly wed a piece of bred. Each will take a piece, the one who gets the biggest determines the sex on their future child. A boy the biggest ? I need to make that point clear. With them there was no doubt possible.
Second usage that differs a bit from the weddings I report is the toss the bouquet replaced by the bride holding the bouquet linked to the brides maid by a ribbon. Only one is effectively tied, and guess what, the one who gets the bouquet is the one who is holding the tied ribbon to it. Very practical when you are indoor all the time.
It was a fun day sure, guests coming from everywhere, our couple currently living abroad. Friends from their youth, friends from work, family all met back in their native country Latvia. The fun was to follow up for me every step of the day when all was in Russian. It went very fine, just a bit funny when everybody was gathering for the group picture when I was still snapping around here and there then realizing everybody was waiting for me… A bit confusing, but nothing that bad I insure you as I was there before everybody was effectively ready thanks to my very little and funny notion of Russian.
When leaving such a wedding, I am at the same time emptied by the energy you spend all day capturing pictures and filled with emotions that keep your mind flying long after the event. It is sometimes difficult to come back on earth.