Suhua & Penghan are full of surprises.
One month before their big day, they decided to do an engagement shoot and she has yet to get her wedding dress. One week before the shoot, Suhua scraped her elbow while rock climbing and one day before, Penghan was running to Beyond the Vines to get the last dress in her size.
“Something that many people aren’t aware of is that statistically worldwide, miscarriage affects 1 in 4 women. This means that of all the women in our lives; family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, it is likely that there are some who have been through/are going through a miscarriage, and yet not many of us are aware of the pain and loss they’re experiencing. Maybe it’s because it’s taboo, too sad, too personal, or makes people feel uncomfortable. Either way, for something that affects so many women, worldwide and in Singapore, the topic of miscarriage has been too easily swept under the carpet and ignored, rather than being brought out into the open and discussed, which could bring understanding, comfort and healing to those who desperately need it.
I am unfortunately, one of the 1 in 4.”
– written by Amanda
I had a very challenging time photographing Amanda and Nick. It is not often that I am made to deal with grief in the photographic form.
It has also been a long time since I’ve felt so unsure about what I’m doing.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted out of this session, but I knew what I didn’t want.
1) I did not want to cheapen Amanda’s & Nick’s grief. I wanted to avoid photographs of them crying and looking sad. Instead, I envisioned the session as a space for them to work out their emotions about the situation.
2) I did not want sentimentality. Singaporeans are generally a sentimental bunch (myself included) and we often confuse being sentimental with being emotional. Emotions are raw and private. Sentiments are organised and expressed. Put in another way, emotions are invisible. The challenge was therefore – how do we give form to something that cannot be seen?
3) I did not want to photograph Amanda & Nick in definite, locked states. I wanted things to change for them. For the better. Even if that seemed like a remote possibility, I wanted to remind all of us that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Hope is not a sexy concept. But for anyone going through their own battles, hope, not strength, is the most important thing you need.
I don’t think I have entirely succeeded. I still detect traces of sentimentality, some locked states. But I thought the process was meaningful for me and hopefully for Amanda and Nick. Enough for me to look forward to my next shoot where I can hopefully operate with similar discomfort and uncertainty.
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