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Art And A Fortunate Accident



Back in the days, I used to spend weekends photographing weddings as a semi-professional photographer. This is one genre of photography I’ve always enjoyed, and still do even only as a guest, and only armed with an iPhone.

Mr O always wonders what I see that he doesn’t. Where to even begin? I especially love Nigerian weddings where there is so much colour, texture and sound… Where joy, excitement, passion flow, without restraint. Where rituals are not just observed for rituals sake, but upheld and brandished for the world to see.

Weddings strike a chord with me.
From the age old tradition of the bride being given by her dad to her new family, to the look on the groom’s face which I always pay attention to as he looks mesmerised watching his bride walk down the aisle. Much like Jane shares in the romantic comedy “27 Dresses”.

From the exchange of vows, to the couple’s idiosyncrasies like the groom’s alcohol fuelled stag to the bride’s failure at time- keeping disclosed and mocked in speeches from their nearest and dearest.

Nothing says love more than a wedding day, whether it’s family bonds or “fridge rights” (the right to walk in a home and open to fridge to look at it for a few more minutes reassured in the knowledge that you can have whatever you want – as defined by the groom’s dad at a family wedding I attended last Saturday – to that pact of love between a man and woman who make the unflinching promise to “have and to hold from this day forward”.

Weddings are also bittersweet for me as I can’t help but contemplate thousands of couple who started out much the same way but didn’t last the course. I always wonder, what happened to make you fall out of love with the person you looked at as if they were the sole reason for your existence? At what juncture did it start going wrong? At one point did they stop being a priority and became an afterthought? At what milestone was it beyond repair?

As married folk, I think we’d benefit from reminiscing on our wedding day as often as we can. Cherish the memories, remember the love that cocooned that union which we felt would be eternal.

Remember why you made that vow, and to whom so we can steady the course when the going gets tough, steer the wheel when storms arise, stay the path with the knowledge that some days you will want to kill the person you once vowed to have and hold but you’d still rather go through this madness called life with them than anyone else…

Or to quote a passage from “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” by Louis de Bernières read at last weekend’s wedding:

“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your root was so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is.

Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.

Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.”

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