The JTPA Experience | Jennifer Tai Photo Artistry | Seattle WA

What wedding photography means to me


When I was about eight, I discovered my parents’ wedding albums.

I found photographs of my folks before they were my folks. I saw Stanley and Au Yong. He, in a smart, trim suit and black-rimmed glasses, grinning our signature Tai gummy grin. She, in an elegant updo and classy white shift. My mom was holding a glass of brandy, while my dad poured for his guests. They were in the middle of doing their table to table toasts, a popular Chinese wedding custom.

They were such different people, as people often are before they become parents. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my mom partake other than in this photo.

I don’t know who the wedding photographer was (the inscription points to a Kamy Studio in Ipoh) but his photographs made my parents exciting to me. Three-dimensional, young people who knew how to have fun. Not the grumpy, sleep-deprived folks that inhabited my childhood. These photos made my mom elegant and happy, and my dad handsome and perhaps, even a little caddish. It was thrilling.

When things got rough, or when boredom got the best of me, I’d pull these albums out and often remove the prints from their pockets so I could examine them feverishly, as though looking for proof that my parents had once been truly, madly, deeply, in love. And there it was. They were happy. Faith somewhat restored, I’d go about my day. Nobody knew these photos better than I did. Not even my parents.

Last year, my parents uprooted their lives from Batu Gajah, Perak (Malaysia), to live with my sister in Sydney, Australia. While packing one evening, my mom called to ask if they should throw away those old photos. After much shrieking, I demanded them be shipped to me, pronto. Three months later, the box arrived. There they were once more Stanley and Au Yong, at the beginning of their journey some 45 years ago. I was eight again, and utterly entranced.

Great wedding photography transcends the pretty. While I am mesmerized by my mom in full makeup and my dad with hair, it’s the skillfully made candids that draw me in. My dad pouring brandy into the glasses of guests for toasts, which they held respectfully with two hands, always. My grandparents whom I never knew growing up, sipping tea at the tea ceremony while my beloved aunt, playing the role of the Chinese matchmaker, blessed the bride and groom loudly with many promises of health, wealth and babies. My parents standing at the door at the end of the night, thanking their guests as they left, some seen picking their teeth with toothpicks after what must’ve been a great dinner. There are only about 50 photographs. All of them meaningful. All of them precious.

Therein lies the true worth of wedding photographs: while they are enjoyed by you, they are invaluable to your loved onesYour wedding photographs will be cherished by your children and grandchildren, friends and family past, present and future.

Ready to chat more? Give me a call at 425 463 8480 or email me by using our contact form today. I look forward to hearing from you.

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