Navajo Wedding- About to Begin

Technically, I feel this photo needs a bit of tweaking.  That aside, I still like it because of the moment it captures. 

This is the medicine man, bride and her family waiting to make the short walk up to the hogan where the groom and his family are waiting inside.

The bride is covered with a Pendleton shawl to keep her from being seen by the groom before the ceremony begins.       

If you notice, the bride and her daughters are wearing the traditional moccasins with the white deerskin wraps.  The grand-baby is being carried by his mother in a cradleboard.

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Navajo Wedding-Cradleboard Baby

This cute little guy was a special guest at the wedding.  He was the first grandchild of the bride and groom.  In this photo, he was snoozing away in his cradleboard, completely oblivious to the excitement of the reception that was about to begin.

A funny sidenote:  I carried my own infant around in her sling for the majority of the event.  Apparently, I used to be able to multi-task.

Navajo Traditional Wedding- Black Mesa

Some time ago, I had the privilege of photographing a traditional Navajo wedding ceremony for a good friend’s sister.  So far, it remains one of my most memorable  photographic experiences.

The above photo is one of my personal favorites out of the hundreds I came away with.  I took this while crouched down in front of the bride and groom in a very crowded hogan.  In this part of the ceremony, the bride and groom are “washing” each other’s hands over the basket of blue cornmeal that the medicine man has blessed*.  They would proceed to mix the cornmeal and share with those around them to share the blessings.   

This photo has not been tinkered with.  I had thought of making it black and white but like the pop of color from the bride’s coral cluster bracelet.  A detail that caught my eye was the heart-shape the groom’s hands form.  That seems like a happy accident.  

Another reason I like this photo so much is that it captures a moment, that in my mind, feels very intimate. 

*That was my interpretation of the moment.  Although I am half Navajo, I am not an expert on traditional ceremonies.