While photography is enjoyed around the world, I always feel honoured when I get to share in the particular passion for this art that people from Asia often have. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’ve had the privilege of creating uniquely significant pre-wedding photo sessions for Asian couples travelling around my native Cyprus, such as the lovely Karen and Joe and Iris and Akran. As I mentioned then, for many people in Asia, having a pre-wedding photoshoot is not just about capturing a moment of shared love and anticipation; it’s also a tradition of hope. It’s an emblem of emerging prosperity, a chance to get creative, and an act of celebration.
The Asian appreciation for photography does not, however, end there—as this session of romantic beach photography in Cyprus shows. The couple pictured below—Hongzhen (the girl) and Song—travelled all the way here from Beijing, China, then decided that the best way to memorialise their romantic getaway was to have a photo session. They’re not alone in this idea: Today, more and more people from Eastern cultures are embracing photography as a way to capture both beautiful images of travels abroad and moments of shared love, relaxation, and bliss.
Speaking on this ever-growing love of photography, Asian culture blogger Mabel Kwong writes, “Many Asians have incredible work ethics and are hard workers up to the point they’ll hesitate to go on a holiday. Those in Hong Kong and China are known to stay in the office up to twelve hours a day. I see many of my Asians friends who work in demanding corporate jobs post photos on Facebook of [even] the absolutely mundane things they see on getaways. A rusty bicycle. A trolley of luggage. A can of Coke. Who can fault them for getting so excited seeing something ‘out of the ordinary’, so excited that they want to capture the moment forever in some way?” As we struggle to make time for ourselves, every sight—every second—is becoming more precious and worth holding onto.
Whenever I work with couples from Asia, I can see the full potential of photography being realised through this ever-developing appreciation. From the wisdom of Eastern thought comes the idea that all photography—even ‘routine’ photography like vacation photo shoots—should be cherished as much more than mere documentation: It’s a visual escape, a collection of stolen moments of bliss that we can carry with us as we traverse the hectic swirl of the world. It’s a celebration of the beauty that lies everywhere, all around us, and a way to bring the oft-overlooked nuances of the world into sharp focus. Photography is, in essence, a meditation—a spiritual experience.
Looking upon this romantic beach photography in Cyprus, taken at the beautiful Zygi Marina (at Aphrodite’s Birth Place and Appolon’s Temple), I think the state of reverie described above is clear on the faces of Hongzhen and Song. With bright smiles and faces turned to each other or to the sea, they are in a place outside of time, a moment separated from stress, worry, or fear. Forever after when they look at these images, they will be able to step back into a place of pure love, freedom, and joy—that is the true gift contained within a photograph.