Heartbreaking covid wedding photo sums up 'new normal'

Nastasha Tupas
·Content Producer
·3-min read

A wedding photographer has captured the heartbreaking moments between a groom and his beloved grandparents, who had to remain behind glass doors at their nursing home on his wedding day.

Sydney-based photographer, Brendan Samuels, was so moved by the ‘sobering’ but touching moments - amid the coronavirus pandemic - he shared the incredible photos from Christine and Peter’s weekend wedding online. And they have since gone viral.

Credit: Brendan Samuels, photographer
Supplied: Brendan Samuels

The mandatory COVID-19 social-distancing restrictions in place prevented Peter’s grandparents from attending the wedding.

“I photograph a lot of Asian-Australian weddings and family is important,” Brendan tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

With over a decade of photography experience under his belt, Brendan says Christine and Peter’s visit to the nursing home was easily the most unique wedding portraits he had taken in his career.

“This is by far, one of my career highlights,” he adds.

Credit: Brendan Samuels, photographer
Supplied: Brendan Samuels

The black and white photos documented the solemn, poignant moments shared between Peter and his bed-bound grandparents at their nursing home from behind glass doors, as his wife, Christine, looked on in tears.

Peter and Christine visit his grandmother at the nursing home on their wedding day. Credit Peter and Christine visit his grandmother at the nursing home on their wedding day. Credit: Brendan Samuels, photographer
Supplied: Brendan Samuels

Christine had lovingly organised the “greatest wedding gift” for her husband in secret, enlisting Brendan to ensure the sentimental reunion was captured as a wedding keepsake.

Peter was told ‘the location of the dusk portrait session’ was a surprise and was taken there wearing a blindfold.

Credit: Brendan Samuels, photographer
Supplied: Brendan Samuels

“I hate lying, I’m a terrible liar but for this occasion, I had to lie to Peter about where we were going as we drove to the nursing home in Lewisham,” Brendan said.

“He had a smile from cheek to cheek when he saw his grandparents,” he further explained in a Facebook post.

With one hand on the glass and a wistful look, Peter greeted his grandparents from the other side of the door. Grandpa dressed in his best suit, to see the newlyweds for the first time and shared a quiet prayer with the couple.

Credit: Brendan Samuels, photographer
Supplied: Brendan Samuels
Credit: Brendan Samuels, photographer
Supplied: Brendan Samuels

“With the exchange of quiet murmurs, you could feel the hard reality of how this pandemic is hurting our desire for relationships and spending time with our loved ones,” Brendan continued.

Brendan also explained Grandma had brought along her special Ang Pow (Red Envelope) for Christine and Peter, and it was passed on beneath the glass doors. Traditionally, Red Envelopes are gifts given on holidays and milestone celebrations like births, graduations, and weddings in southeast Asia.

The snapper revealed he felt overwhelmed himself while capturing the extraordinary and powerful portraits that encapsulated living in the ‘new normal’ during a pandemic in 2020.

Credit: Brendan Samuels, photographer
Supplied: Brendan Samuels

“The hardest thing was watching Peter’s Grandma and Grandpa being wheeled away back to their rooms,” Brendan concluded.

“I felt for Peter, I felt for his grandparents. For a moment or two, I’d almost forgotten that I was there to photograph as I wiped away my tears.”

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