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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

‘The best weddings are like house parties’: Photographer Joseph Radhik

"For me, weddings post-Covid or even amid the pandemic, are dream weddings, because only the people whom you genuinely care about are present there. So everywhere I point my camera, the probability of me getting a great emotional shot is extremely high"

Written by Shambhavi Dutta | New Delhi |
March 10, 2021 12:30:48 pm
Joseph Radhik, stories by Joseph Radhik, award winning photographer Joseph Radhik, Joseph Radhik netfix big day, big day streaming netflix, Joseph Radhik interviewAward-winning photographer Joseph Radhik's work is all about -- capturing the real emotions. (Photo: Storiesbyjosephradhik/Instagram, Designed by Gargi Singh)

The internet could not keep calm when the dreamy pictures from Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma wedding were shared by the couple after the ceremony. It was no different when Priyanka Chopra tied the knot with Nick Jonas. While everything about the pictures was perfect, there was one thing that stood out in all — ‘candidness’.

That’s what award-winning photographer Joseph Radhik’s work is all about — capturing the real emotions. Most certainly on every bride’s wish-list today, Radhik is a firm believer that if the couple can ignore you on their big day, you know you have done your job as a photographer well, because that is your best bet at getting the most emotional shot.

In a telephonic conversation, the wedding photographer talks about the challenges of being behind the lens at weddings, how he spots those ‘magical moments’ that are hard to recreate, his favourite celeb wedding, and more.


What does your day look like when you have to shoot a wedding?

My preparation, per se, begins much before the big day. For me, the number one concern is not the photos I’ll take, but the relationship I have with the bride and the groom. The way I see it, 99 per cent of the pictures I have clicked would have been impossible to capture if I hadn’t known the couple. For example, instead of capturing a firework spectacle or a haldi ceremony, I will capture the happiness that surrounds the event. But doing that is impossible if one does not know the people. If you are indifferent to them, nine out of 10 times you won’t see the smile or the tears because you would look at it objectively. So months before the wedding, I meet them over a coffee, which has not become a Zoom call.

In this session, I don’t ask them what they want in terms of photos because nobody really has an answer. I instead enquire about who they would be spending their time with among their family and friends. Once I am at the venue, it’s very candid because I have to be a part of the inner circle. We make sure we have three separate storylines captured by me and the other two photographers — whether it is 70 people of 7000.

How challenging is it to shoot weddings?

What gets lost in translation while capturing Indian weddings is the fact that wedding photography is a very taxing job. Everyone’s happy, the pictures turn out to be beautiful and there is so much glamour in the pictures — but they do not show that the photographers are mostly on their feet for nearly 12-13 hours. Marriages here can go on till 3 am. The biggest challenge is to maintain your health and stamina, which helps us to do the best we can and be emotionally present at the venue.

The second biggest challenge is the ability to turn up at the wedding and care for the people who are getting married. I say this because it is so easy to get lost in the grandeur and forget capturing what the wedding is truly about. The kind of weddings we shoot are  extremely grand but that’s not what’s important; its the human perspective they hold because there are two people in love and your only job is to document that love, everything else is secondary. 25 years down the line, when they hold a picture you captured and you show them how they felt in that very moment — you have aced it.

How do you capture the essence of intimacy in a wedding?

There is a very simple line I wrote somewhere a while back: believe in love. As a wedding photographer, this is supreme because you are there to document it. If you seek, you will find it. It is very easy to get cynical about weddings because the material aspects of a wedding are huge but there aren’t too many people who mention the emotional aspects. It is so easy to cover the grandeur, but the art of wedding photography lies in capturing emotions.

Like I said, the number one thing to make sure that the essence is intact is to not be a stranger but be a friend to the couple. Because if you are a friend capturing them, they’ll ignore you and that’s when you will be able to click them at their most natural self.

Tell us a bit about your stint on Netflix’s The Big Day?

We were a part of two episodes of the first season of The Big Day and we will also be seen in the second season of the show sometime in April. It is indeed filled with joy because we have completed 10 years in the industry and I have seen a massive transformation when it comes to the wedding business, and if someone a decade back told me that there will be a show documenting Indian weddings on OTT platforms, it would have been a joke but we have come such a long way!

With the pandemic calling for more intimate weddings, has it also affected your work in any way?

For me, weddings post-covid or even amid the pandemic are dream weddings because only the people whom you genuinely care about are present there. So everywhere I point my camera, the probability of me getting a great emotional shot is extremely high.

Which has been your favourite wedding to capture?

It has to be when Virat and Anushka got married in Tuscany. It was at that wedding I realised why it is so important to have an intimate wedding. The best weddings are like house parties! There is not much planned and you are just there to be happy and celebrate two people who will take a big leap of faith.

This is how it felt at their wedding because even today, during the pandemic, it has to be the smallest wedding we have covered. That speaks volumes of the couple they are — to respect the boundaries, what their love is and that it was never about the grandeur but about themselves.

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