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This Is How: ‘The Red Balloon’ by Klaus Heymach

A delight to have Germany-based TiR member Klaus Heymach on the site today, sharing his thoughts about this great capture. Great insights into becoming part of the wedding, and I especially love this quote from Klaus, which couldn’t be more true: “If you concentrate only on the really big moments, you may miss such small, inconspicuous ones.”

A small, casual moment. Nothing big, nothing of great importance. Nothing that wins an award, nothing that you hang on canvas on the bedroom wall. To be honest, I was surprised when Alan dug up this picture from one of my weddings and asked me to write something about it.

But at second glance, I like this moment. It tells a lot about my approach to documentary wedding photography. I always try to mingle with the guests, to be one of them; one who doesn’t hold a balloon in his hand, but instead the camera. It’s not like I’m always talking to the family and guests or even animating them to do anything. But I do like the non-verbal communication, the closeness and increasing familiarity on the wedding day. Also with the guests.

We have this tradition of releasing balloons after the ceremony. A very questionable idea for the environment, but a beautiful symbol for the couple, no doubt. On the balloons hang good wishes for the newly weds, and only the wind knows how far it will carry them. Maybe one of the cards will be found somewhere, someone will put it in a mailbox, and the couple is going to be reminded of their big day at some point.

There is the classic picture of the moment when the red balloons rise to the sky and everyone looks at them. But what I find even more exciting are the minutes in which everyone mulls over the message they want to leave to the bridal couple on these little cards. Love, wit, a little pathos, best combined on the size of a postcard. See how the ladies take care of it while the gentlemen just hold their drinks and at best the balloons? The red hair and the red balloon fit together perfectly of course – a clear case of no monochrome here! And the horseman in the background probably dates from the time when the manor house in which we celebrated here in Western Pomerania was built.

If you concentrate only on the really big moments, you may miss such small, inconspicuous ones. So thanks again to Alan for digging up this little snapshot for me.

You can view more of Klaus’ work on his website, or on his This is Reportage profile over here.

We have lots more ‘This is How…’ posts by our TiR members over here; a real treasure-trove of documentary wedding photography goodness!

Aga Tomaszek

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