* To celebrate the launch of Monika Bulaj's print, we've discounted her prints 20% through midnight EST Thursday. *
Nuru Project CEO JB Reed explores wedding culture at home and abroad
I have a confession to make... I shoot weddings.
I'm a photographer by trade and weddings have provided a steady income as I try and get Nuru Project off the ground. While I enjoy the work and appreciate how much it means to my clients, I have worried what the photojournalism community wouldn't consider my shooting weddings to be 'serious' work.
But in the course of considering Monika Bulaj's stunning print from a Libyan wedding, I realized that she and I are in the same line of work!
What grabs me about Monika's print is the light emanating from Saba. A ray of sun peeks through the roof in the next room. Tiny mirrors in her headscarf shatter it, scattering hundreds of points of light about her alcove. She is, quite literally, radiant. It sounds trite, but wedding day radiance is something I've seen dozens of times in the course of shooting weddings. And it's not just brides. It's mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and girlfriends. And it's not just women. Grooms, fathers, sons, and brothers also often beam with anticipation.
To be sure, the institution has its flaws. Child marriage is a huge issue around the world. In the United States, not everyone who wants to get married can. Same sex couples are currently waging a passionate campaign for equal marriage rights. And for those who can get married in the U.S., many lose sight of what makes the day truly special. As we all know, not all beautiful weddings lead to beautiful marriages, and American culture is too absorbed with the former.
During a recent wedding I shot in Brooklyn, the officiant asked those in attendance to imagine the countless other weddings that were taking place that day in cities and villages around the globe. For all the cynicism surrounding the wedding industry and the institution of marriage in the United States, she was reminding us that finding a mate and partner with whom to share life remains among our most fundamental human desires. When we find that person, we radiate light.
Monika's print reminds me that this is true all over the world.
JB Reed is Co-Founder and CEO of Nuru Project. If you're looking for him on a weekend during the spring or fall, at least until Nuru Project becomes a much bigger deal, he's probably off shooting a wedding.