It was on a sleepy Sunday night when I got a huge surprise.

“The photos are super!!!! We’re laughing until we had stomachaches while looking at the photos. Wonderful memories!”

You see, Colin and Charlene are a truly special couple whose wedding I will be documenting later this year. They had been married for many years – well to be legally married here, all you have to do is head on down to the Registry of marriages with your willing partner and sign a little document called the marriage certificate, but I digress – and they will be holding their Chinese customary wedding dinner at said date. Like true blue Singaporeans, and the fact that the cost of holding a wedding dinner here can be pretty daunting for most of us fledgling adults, a lot of us would plan for a wedding when we are more comfortable in life. Or when our nagging parents start looming over our backs and asking ‘When?’, ‘When?’ and ‘When?’ and all we could muster is ‘Soon’, ‘Soon’, ‘Soon’.

This engagement photography session would probably not have existed, to be honest, and to have it happen was a pretty miraculous feat. They only started planning to have an engagement shoot with me at the last minute, having shelved the idea of sauntering about in the tropical heat clad in stiff suits and outrageous gowns, deciding that it was best that they just chilled and drink beer while watching soapy dramas. In fact, on the day itself, we were even contemplating to postpone the session to another date due to bad hazy conditions that we as Singaporeans, are getting accustomed to on a yearly basis. On hindsight, the hazy conditions probably suited us as Charlene is not your average bride with a taste for romantic fairytales, nor yearning for a handsome prince-charming riding atop a white horse. The words ‘morbid-loving’ (we actually thought of shooting at a cemetary, no joke), ‘rustic’ and  ‘mysterious’ were constantly surfacing during our brainstorming meeting. Because of these, I have to admit that I am very grateful that I had the chance to photograph two very unique personalities and produce such photos that they can ‘laugh until they have stomachaches‘ while sipping their beer and looking at them by the fireplace (who are we kidding – there’s no fireplace in Singapore!).

And this is why I love my job, to be able to create irreplaceable memories. Oh, and the masks as well. They were strangely fun.

-HL, Visual storyteller