melbourne-muslim-henna-wedding-photographerYesterday I shot my first-ever Henna night.
They had to announce my arrival as the ceremony is strictly for women.
A ceremony to receive blessings from the mothers, sisters, nieces, cousins.

As I wandered around, I could sense tension as many tightened up their hijabs.

And then the bride entered, and everything changed.

I can’t describe the tempo, the rhythm, the dancing.
The energy.

The bride left for a dress change, and suddenly everyone was asking me if I had eaten.
If I wanted their food, drinks, sweets.
Sit down, there’s nothing to photograph now, she’s getting ready, they said.
A 4-year-old asked me to take a photo of her, ran away half way as she realised she shouldn’t be so vain, but then changed her mind again and posed.
She then asked if she could take a photo using my camera.
She later bossed me around.

It’s been a strange week.
There was a (tiki) fire torch protest about race.
There’s been a violent attack in Spain.
An Australian politician pulled a stunt using a Burqa.

All these actions are chisels of a line.
A line that says ‘we’re here, and you’re there’.

As I walked out Sydney Road under the rain yesterday, I’ve never been more proud of what I do for a living.
I don’t have to consider where I stand.
My job itself is a statement.

The joy of celebration is universal.