Amish Solanki Photography :: Blog :: Vancouver Wedding + Portrait Photographer » Wedding & Portrait Photography by Amish Solanki

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Change – Part 1

Change is good right?

I don’t talk a lot about personal things here on the blog, but there is a story that I wanted to share.

Back in March of this year, my wife Natisha and I finally went on our honeymoon to Thailand. We spent the month backpacking across the country, staying in $8/night guesthouses, eating amazing foods, sweating non-stop, diving in the ocean, meeting new friends, and more importantly, getting to know each other a lot better. Not having to worry about the daily grind for a few weeks really helped with this, and although we’re back at it again, we vowed to make some changes when we got back.

While spending a day in Phuket town walking around the city, we passed by a small store, and the sign for passport photos caught my eye. I remembered that I was suppose to get passport sized photos, as the next day we were going on our live-a-board for 5 days, and I needed the photos for my Advanced Diving certificate which I was going be taking on-board.  We stepped inside an empty shop, but the owner quickly came running into the store. His English wasn’t great, but neither was my Thai. I managed to explain that I needed passport photos by pointing at the sign. He told me the cost, and I agreed, to which from his drawer he pulled out a old Kodak digital camera (maybe from 2003?). He then told me to come upstairs.

Upstairs? I thought we’re taking passport photos. Put me infront of the white screen, snap 2 photos, and be on our way. No? Okay fine, lets go upstairs.

From the time I walked up those stairs, I could NOT remove the grin from my face, and to this date, that same grin shows on my PADI card.

Upstairs was the most amazing yet antique studio I think I’ll ever see. The paint was an algae green color that was probably painted well over 60+ years ago.

As we walked around the corner, he had an “old-school” studio setup. No flash, but simple hot lamps covered in cobwebs. He sat me down on a ratty old chair, and walked over to the wall with the huge breaker switches which he turned on one by one, as each light fired up. Its Thailand, and its hot. The lights made it even hotter. I didn’t care.

He took a brief look at me, and noticed the sweat pouring off my forehead, so he showed me to a section of the studio where there was some tissue paper.

After ‘trying’ to remove what sweat I could before it reappeared I sat back down in the hot lamps, and he proceeded to take photos of me. His attention to detail and my exact pose was unlike any I had seen for passport photos. But only after take 5-10 photos, his camera died, so he had to retreat downstairs to get some more batteries. I got up looked at Natisha and said ‘can you believe this!?’. I grabbed my camera and snapped some pictures of the place, then he returned back upstairs. I sat back down (after wiping my forehead once again) and proceeded for my second set of photos still with the silly grin on my face. After we were done, I asked if I could take some more photos and look around, and he was pleasantly okay with this.

Over on one of the walls I noticed a frame with wedding photos. Definitely not the style of wedding photos today, but ‘memories’ nevertheless. I explained to him that I took wedding photos myself. Probably by the look on my face, I think he knew. Everywhere I walked and looked I was in a constant state of amazement. The light that was entering the room was simply amazing, and there were some old chairs in the room that would sell for thousands in designer stores back at home. I’m sure if I asked, he would have said to take them. As I looked around some more, I noticed him walk to one corner, and stacked on several shelves were hundreds of boxes. Film? Most likely. So I walked over, as he grabbed a few boxes and opened them up.

Glass slides. Hundreds of them. He pulled one out and passed it to me. I wiped my sweaty hands and held it with care. I’ve never touched a glass slide before. Not one this old at least. It was of a young male. As I passed it back, he motioned for me to keep it.

Not wanting to overstay my welcome, we soon proceeded downstairs for me to pay for the photos. He said he would drop them off at our guesthouse later that evening.

As I pulled out my bhat to pay as he pulled out another box. Inside was a larger glass slide. He passed it to me again offering me to keep it. The slide was that of a couple on their wedding day. The etching on the side said 18.5.54. Yup, May 18, 1954. The couple was dressed their best, and they were sitting on one of the chairs that I had seen upstairs. I was literally speechless.

I’m not who often takes photos with other people (I’m usually on the other side of the camera!), but I asked Natisha to take a photo of me and him.

Him. No I didn’t get a name. But I have a photo with him. More importantly, I have this experience that even after 7 months feels as real as when we were there. The next two weeks were spent treasuring these glass slides on the top of my camera bag, doing everything I could to make sure they wouldn’t break. Luckily I still have them intact.

Where am I going with this? Why Part 1? Well Part 2 will come shortly enough and should fill in the details, but I’ll end this post with images from this experience. Thanks for reading.

Sima - One of my favourite posts Amish. Can’t wait for Part 2.

mike u - wow…. amish you hear it all the time…but really dude, these are some top pro photos, yeah who am i to say right? always have been a fan of a really good shot, and there is more than 1 here!! the dark corner with the chairs is my favorite. hey any photos you don’t want i’ll keep for when your work gets recognized….hehe just kidding….i enjoyed the shots. Is weddings your thing? or what would you like to shoot?

Pardeep - A great story. And those boxes and boxes of photos! Amazing.

Jen - WOOOOOO! Part 2! Part 2!!!!!!

angela - amazing…can’t wait for part 2!

Karim Khamzin - Being based in Phuket (from Vancouver myself), I found your story wonderful. I did shared it on my FaceBook, if it OK with you. Thank you for good storytelling.

ASIM SOOFI - Hey Amish. Randomly came across your link on SAB, and really enjoyed this wonderful post. It’s always amazing to realize how much time and space separates all of us, yet still so much of the same connects us. Thank you for sharing. /asim

Tara - beautiful photos and a beautiful story Amish…came across as a really magical experience, i loved it :-)

Matt and Katie | Photographers - Great story Amish. You made me feel a tiny little bit what it was like to be there. Thanks for sharing the story, and for capturing and sharing the images. Very cool, and inspiring in a way I can’t really describe.

Getty Images Representative Philippines - Amazing photos, as usual. I have to say, I really like your take on still photography.

Shamima Sultana - very nice photography….

Loretta - I love this post! I loved the pictures…I looked you up on Google, and found your blog. I guessed that you lived near me by looking at the pictures and recognizing the architecture/style of the houses! I wish you and your wife all the best in your upcoming travels. I love to travel too. Have a wonderful time!

Richard - Love Thailand…especially Bangkok; but you completely changed my perspective of how I see things….in a good way!!! The details you notice is amazing. Fantastic photos and a great story!

Anita + Romeo – Wedding Party

My stomach still hurts from this group.

Raneeta - Amish…thanks for being such a fun and patient photographer (and of course AMAZING…your work is beautiful)! We all had a great time.

Shamima Sultana - Its such a nice blog…
Thanks for sharing this

Jeniffer LaRocca - Hi Amish,
Just wanted to say I love your work, so fresh and fun. Jason Roberts initially showed your work to me on your site, he said you are one of his favorite photographers and a friend from a workshop.
Do you use a lot of lighting in your wedding/portrait photos. It looks like you may do mostly natural light, not sure. I really like how it looks very natural, not flashy or too dramatic, very authentic. I tend toward that myself, trying to get back to my roots, the love of natural light.

Jeniffer LaRocca

Sukh + Gurj – Proposal

A couple weeks ago, I was on my way to New York to shoot an amazing wedding along side Casey + Danielle from MindCastle Studios. A day before my flight from Toronto, I received a call from Gurj, Sukh’s boyfriend. Although they have been planning their wedding next year, he had not yet officially proposed to her. By sheer coincidence, Sukh and Gurj were on route to New York for a weekend getaway the same weekend as me. Except that it was more than just a weekend getaway; Gurj was secretly planning a surprise proposal in New York City. Sukh and Gurj really wanted to do a portrait session in NYC (because how can you NOT have photos in NYC?!),  so Gurj and I conspired together so that he could propose to her during their photo session.

While we visited some recognizable landmarks in New York during their portrait session, what may be less obvious in the photographs is the weather that Sukh and Gurj literally battled. Despite a blanket of dark DARK clouds, torrential rains, and tornados in nearby Brooklyn (not kidding!), Sukh and Gurj were determined to enjoy their time in the city and with one another.

Congratulations Sukh + Gurj!

Lesley - Awww how cute! You orchestrated this beautifully! :)

Smita - Sukh looks beautiful as always…great photos…totally captured the moment:) Gurj…you look good too!

Rachna - Congratulations to you both! Sukh you look beautiful as usual and Gurj; you aren’t looking so bad yourself :) Well done Amish; the photos are amazing.

Jas & Harps - WOW!! This looks like a great session and congratulations once again

Pavan - Congratulations! You both look amazing! Incredibly romantic Bhaji…ever so proud of you big bro! lots of love, masarji, massiji, Harps, Jas, Pavan xxx

Sukhraj - Congrats Gurj and Sukh! Your pictures are amazing!! :)

Sukh - Thank you so very much for capturing this ‘special & magical’ moment for us, Amish! ;)

Rob P - Congrats to the both of you, pictures look great!

andrew - Fantastic set! A unique take on some classic NYC landmarks.

Sangeeta - Aww the pics are fantastic! So stylish, love the surprise proposal!!! Well done guys!

Deep and Gora - Beautiful!! Congratulations Gurj and Sukh x

Daljit Flora - Hey good looking people – I thought I was flicking through the OK magazine – you both look hot (i wish I had your legs Sukh…), and what a wicked background. Big kiss and a massive congratulations to you both, love you both Jiti Massi xxxxxxx

Tara Sharma - This is so great! Wonderful photos! Glad I stumbled upon your blog!

Lorine + Shawnt – Sneak Peek

Has it really been over a month since my last post?  Blame it on the crazy wedding season!

I just finished shooting a beautiful Armenian wedding in Toronto and while backing up the photos I came across this image taken while Lorine was getting ready. Tomorrow I head off to New York for another wedding this weekend, prior to returning back to Vancouver for a few more weddings to end of the season. Then its edit edit edit time (along with some blogging!)

Michael Y Wong - awesome!!