Emotive Photography – what ?
When I first heard about Michelle’s slogan: “emotive photography” I was wondering: What on earth would that mean ? Another marketing fad ?
Another Bali wedding photographer full of himself with a fancy tag line ?
Little did I know…
After having seen the first few of Michelle’s photographs I knew it was not just lip service.
Indeed, these photographs are different. So full of emotional content. Pictures that truly touched me. And pictures that will certainly touch you also.
But before I rave on, please see for yourself – seeing is believing:
Michelle Pastel describes his work as “emotive photography”. And he offers the following definition on his website:
e·mo·tive = the ability to arouse emotion
Indeed, Michelle’s wedding photographs never fail to trigger an emotional response in the viewer.
If I were a bride and would see myself in such highly emotional photographs I may well start to cry. Cry tears of Joy.
Michelle always seems to press the shutter at that very right moment. And the moments he captures naturally cover the entire gamut of human emotions.
From hilarious and humorous situations to moments of bliss and joy. And everything in between.
Authentic & natural wedding photography
The authenticity of Michelle’s photography is remarkable!
This may have to do with the fact Michelle does not do photoshopping. Rather he enhances every photograph by hand.
He lightens and darkens parts of an image. Which in turns yields photographs of great depth and high artistic value. Those are classic and timeless techniques which photographers have been applying since the early days of photography.
As a skilled artisan, Michelle turns your wedding photographs into true jewels.
Not how it looked like, but how it felt like…
I completely dig Michelle’s commitment to brides and couples.
He says: ‘I do not photograph your wedding just the way it looked like, but how it felt’ .
And it is this distinction that makes Michelle stand out. And in my humble opinion the best Bali wedding photographer.
Photographs made by hand = 'slow photography'
When I met Michelle over a coffee he explained to me that indeed he is always on the lookout for moments in which the persons he is photographing express a strong emotion.
He shoots film-style ! Which is not be mistaken with film-look.
What it means is that Michell photographs as if he would be using film. He carefully anticipates those fleeting moments and presses the shutter only in the very right moment. Not like digital shooters who fire indiscriminately and come home from a wedding with 3000 or more photos. Most of which are discarded anyway.
In Michelle’s own words:
Digital photography nowadays is a bit like fast-food. It is instant, yet tasteless. It quenches the hunger only momentarily, without providing real nutritional value. It’s cheap, but it’s mostly junk ! And it lacks authenticity.
Therefore I do: ‘Slow Photography’. Just like slow-food I carefully choose the ingredients: mostly human emotions and I take the time necessary to turn those cold instant digital photos into something of lasting value.
And I do this by hand for each and every photograph I deliver to my clients.
Most digital shooters will let a computer and a selection of instant presets determine how your wedding photographs will look like.
And while Michelle’s photographs are made digitally he carefully edits and enhances them to look like photographed on real film. In fact having seen wedding photographs made with real film I must say that Michelle’s look even better than real film photographs.
See for yourself:
The Bali element is always present !
Another aspect I very much love about Michelle’s work is that he manages to incorporate Bali’s natural beauty without using clichés and overused motives and backgrounds.
He blends Bali’s natural beauty into his wedding photography. And he skillfully plays with the light.
Unusual angles and perspectives accentuate the photographs he creates.
But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself:
Black & White Photographs
While I am personally not a great fan of black & white photographs I have to say that after seeing Michelle’s black & whites I can appreciate better why some photos work better with the absence of color.
Again, best to see for yourself those magnificent black & white Bali wedding photographs:
Pre-wedding & engagement & honeymoon photography
Oh, and in case you are asking: Yes, Michelle also accepts pre-wedding / engagement photo assignments.
For this, he also works very differently from most other pre wedding photographers in Bali.
Most Bali pre wedding photographers are like a heard of cows. They all shoot the same photos and the same locations over and over and over…
Michelle’s approach is refreshingly different.
He will discuss every clients’ preferences and then arrange an individual photo tour that incorporates the locations and settings a couple wants to be part of their pre-wedding photographs.
He works with set designers and lighting assistants to create truly fairy environments. He also uses lots of props like natural flowers, Balinese themed décor, fire & smoke and much more.
All that combined makes a Michelle Pastel pre-wedding shoot truly unique.
He is also a true master of the light. His into-the-light shots are legendary.
Here are some examples of Michelle’s pre-wedding work:
Only the very finest equipment & tools
Unlike many other wedding photographers in Bali who use rather cheap standard equipment, Michelle uses only the very finest photographic equipment.
Michelle is probably the only wedding photographer in Bali who does not use any zoom lenses. Only state-of-the-art fixed lenses.
He even goes as far as to often manually focus to achieve perfection.
As well as truly exotic photo gear. A 60-year-old lens from the Soviet Union or the world’s most light sensitive lens. Or tilt-shift lenses, Michelle goes through great length to craft distinctively different photographs.
Shall we see some more photos ?
Hand-made prints and albums
But what you see onscreen is nothing compared to the prints and albums Michelle creates. When we met he brought along a few sample albums. Wow !!
Unlike other wedding photographers in Bali, Michelle prints photographs also on textured papers giving them a tactile feel that is hard to describe. You have to see those albums and prints it for yourself.
He produces both modern, contemporary albums, as well as vintage albums that look like your grandmothers’ wedding album must have looked like.
Is Michelle the right Bali wedding photographer for you ?
The short answer is: Probably not. Why ?
Michelle’s work does not come cheap. Hardly surprising when you know what goes into creating such outstanding photographs.
Consider the following: What looks to you as one day of work is actually more like 10-14 days of work.
Enhancing your photographs to perfection by hand is a time-consuming process, my Dear.
Which brings me to another reason why Michelle may not be the right wedding photographer for you.
Because a photoshoot will keep Michelle busy for 2-3 weeks he only accepts a very limited number of assignments. Maximum 2 per month.
And demand for Michelle is high. He has to turn down many requests.
If you don’t want to forge out two thousand dollars or more don’t even bother to inquire with Michelle Pastel.
But if you see your wedding photographs as an investment into your family’s archive then Michelle may well be the best Bali wedding photographer for you.