7 minute read

An Evergreen Sagai

A vivid commemoration of culture and climate, Mio Monasch gets intimate with his premarital portraiture

It may be steeped in modified color schemes and obvious postures. It might scream preset, Photoshop, and fakery – gleaming with extravagant highlights and gaudy fairy-tale appeal. But wedding photography remains something we simply cannot do without – the foremost means of memorializing marriage. When the fabled romance takes center-stage, ‘real-life’ reflections prove scarce. Pictures are frequently artificial – heightened creations intended to populate bookshelves and Instagram stories. Prone to repetition, the style can prove tedious, notwithstanding its storybook charm. Cutting through a world of clichés is a challenge worthy of the most adept practitioner, but in Mio Monasch, the genre has found an innovative force.

“It’s almost always a stunning model couple, performing the ultimate adventure… enveloped in this contrived dream. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, but I wanted to find some diversity in the subject, and bring it back down to reality,” Mio begins. “I’m not looking to create the best image, just because I can. You need truth. Accuracy. How it felt, smelt, what you saw, what you heard. My values have changed and grown over the years. It’s about people. The experience. The connection. If it’s already there, why change it?”

Surrounded by the breezy humidity of the Pacific Northwest, Mio was awestruck. Feathery layers of haze hung in the air like waiting apparitions, gliding across ribbons of moisture and moss. Bordered by soaring peaks and endless valleys, the state obliged a hefty lungful, a heady exhalation. In the cold light of day, Olympic National Park was shrouded in an intoxicating, crisp ambience. The energy was palpable, and Mio knew that something unique ought to inhabit the space.

On the face of it, a demanding task was afoot, but Mio’s aspirations were firm. His subjects would need to mirror Olympic’s rawness and grandiosity, but they’d also have to match its distinctiveness, its personality. In time, a workable prospect materialized. Celebrating his recent ‘sagai’ (engagement) to fiancée Sneha, Harish was Mio’s former work associate and friend. With heritage hailing from India, the couple would agree to showcase their customary cultural practices for Mio’s GFX System – a showpiece that would merge two seemingly incongruous narratives as one, creating something totally inimitable. “Emphasizing the cultural particulars was definitely part of my goal. Harish is obsessed with Olympic. Like me, he loves the moodiness, the rain, the dark tones. Better yet, they’re an actual couple. They aren’t models, and they aren’t pretending. It’s completely real,” Mio stresses. “Introduce the Indian element, and you’ve got something really special. There was so much genuine excitement in the air. I loved being able to showcase something that not a lot of people are used to seeing. I was blown away by the detail, the beauty… honored to learn about their process, and help them get back in touch with their roots. It was all very intimate, and I felt completely involved.”

As graceful henna configurations were applied to her skin, Sneha slipped into a traditional lehenga. Harish opted for a customary sherwani. Floral ‘varmala’ garlands were traded, with references to the ‘griha pravesh’ observed – a conventional ritual involving the submerging of the wife-to-be’s feet in a red dye or ‘alta,’ preceding her formal induction into the groom’s home. Matching Sneha’s dress, cherry-red petals would simulate the pigment – a dramatic substitute that explodes in frames of muted, chilly indifference. This remarkable disparity of color produced a striking photographic feast.

“Her attire formed this beautiful contrast with the environment. It really popped. That was the final part of the puzzle,” Mio describes. “Pairing it with these settings was incredible. Take one turn and you’ll see the craziest ranges, layers of endless mountain peaks. Take another and end up at the lake, layered with fog and evergreens. It’s so moist, with a weird moss growing everywhere. Then you’ve got the vibrancy of these gorgeous garments, juxtaposed. That distinction really drew me in. I wanted to situate them in a space they felt connected to. When you’re photographing a couple, that’s integral.” Reiterating the stance of other portrait photographers we’ve talked to, Mio underscores the value of fostering camaraderie with subjects, and choosing the right moment. “They’re fun, comfortable people. I obviously knew Harish beforehand, so we had something of an understanding. I always look for a trigger to get a couple laughing. With these two, they’re massive fans of The Office. I can quote almost all of that show, so it certainly helped! When we were a little tired, I’d throw a line out, and that would get them going. Some people might consider that cheating, but the emotion was real, and it’s tethered to their relationship. You can’t command laughter. It has to be genuine.”

With GFX100S, Mio found a laudable system to craft with. “At first, the thought of large format was a concern – I hadn’t done it before. But this kit felt recognizable. The general dials and components are parallel to what I’ve been dealing with for years. But the viewfinder, display, and HDR all blew me away. Being able to see where your focus is… that’s so important. The 100S made all the difference. You can’t just sit there and hold for a terribly long time, so you need speed – and you’ve got to hit the moment. The 100S is fast enough to do that, but it also has perfect depth. The colors and tonalities…” he pauses for thought. “It may be a continuation of the Fujifilm tradition, but I think we’ve hit hyperdrive with this update.” When it came to lens selection, a variety of glass suited Mio’s multifaceted approach. “Some couples will notice me less if I’m further away, and sometimes I’ll be too far removed, and they won’t take it as seriously,” he describes. “That’s why I had a slew of lenses in my bag. I needed that flexibility. I used GF45mmF2.8 R WR, GF63mmF2.8 R WR, and GF110mmF2 R LM WR. GF63mm was my principal choice. I love its sincerity. It’s closest to how the human eye perceives.” When camera mimics cornea, photographs serve to emulate the nearness of the material world. The ensuing ‘realness’ of the image captivates and compels, and Mio’s original objectives are visualized – true and forthright. “Because of the sensor size and higher aperture, the fall-off looks like real life. It’s matchless. The combination of body and prime feels completely candid – and that naturalism really is something special.”

For most of his career, Mio has engaged with commercial clients and the great outdoors. It’s safe to say that projects like these are beyond his usual sphere of influence, but with predictabilities in mind, he would end up fulfilling his aim of constructing something new – an important addition to an oversaturated photographic category. “We get bogged down in the confines of genre. We’re stoked to be living and working in our dream space, but we also plateau. I’m so grateful to be able to pursue my dreams, but there are definitely days where I feel the repetition. As artists, we get excited when we encounter a learning curve. It’s like drinking from a fire hose, then the water pressure lessens. When you find something new, inspiration is rekindled, and you can pass that along to whoever is viewing your images. It’s rare, but you can find it. All you need to do is look harder.”

A creative call to arms, the mettle to experiment epitomizes Mio’s efforts. When confronted with clichés, consider your choices. Possibility lurks around every corner.

An Indian bride leads her groom during their elopement

Photo 2021 © Mio Monasch | FUJIFILM GFX100S and GF110mmF2 R LM WR, 1/500 sec at F2.5, ISO 500


CREATE/SEND/SHARE

see your image on our Social Channels

Share your image and story with us for a chance to be featured.

Success.
Please select an image
What would you like to share about this image and why would you like to share it?

Consumer Submission Terms and Conditions:

MY FUJIFILM LEGACY MEMORY
1. AGREEMENT TO THESE TERMS AND THE FUJIFILM PRIVACY POLICY: BY UPLOADING A SUBMISSION (as hereafter defined) AND CLICKING YOUR AGREEMENT TO THESE TERMS ON THE SITE, YOU ARE AGREEING TO BE BOUND, WITHOUT LIMITATION OR QUALIFICATION, TO THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS AND THE PRIVACY POLICY, AVAILABLE AT https://www.fujifilm.com/privacy_policy/?_ga=2.188005036.507021620.1563365952-1582032552.1552994675. Any information contained in a Submission, including image, contact information such as physical address and email address, and any other personal information submitted, will be used in accordance with FUJIFILM North America Corporation’s (“FNAC”) Privacy Policy and these Terms & Conditions. Each Submitter acknowledges that submission pursuant to these Terms and Conditions constitutes the necessary and proper permission for FNAC’s use of his or her Submission pursuant to these terms and the Privacy Policy. In addition, by uploading a Submission on the Site, each Submitter represents and warrants that he or she is at least 13 years of age. Yes, I’d like to receive more information regarding FUJIFILM products and services via e-mail (e.g. by newsletter or other marketing communication). I also agree that FUJIFILM North America can use my contact data in accordance with its Privacy Policy to inform me about FUJIFILM products and services by e-mail.

2. IMAGE AND PHOTO DESCRIPTION SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS:
A. Each photo submission (each, along with the required submission form and any provided description, a "Submission") that you as the Submitter determines to submit to FNAC must be uploaded to the submission website at http://www.fujifilm-x.com/en-us/ShareMyFujifilmLegacy (the “Site”) and accompanied by a fully completed submission form located on the Site. Each submitted photo may be no larger than 10 MB, no longer than 2000 pixels in the longest dimension, and it must be formatted as a JPEG, TIFF, GIF, PNG, or BMP. Any description you provide relating to the image may be no more than 1500 characters, including spaces. The Submission may reflect any topic or subject matter, but must be the original work of the providing Submitter, and must depict an original photographic creation. The Submission must have been captured using a FUJIFILM X Series camera and lens (i.e. any FUJIFILM XF or XC lens) or GFX System camera and lens (i.e. any GFX lens).

B. No commitment is made by FNAC to review, consider or post any Submission, and FNAC reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to deem any Submission as inappropriate, unworthy, or unsuitable for posting for any reason, and at any time with no obligation to inform, explain, or justify its reasoning


C. The Submission(s) must not infringe upon the copyrights, trademarks, rights of privacy, publicity or other intellectual property or other rights of any third party person or entity, and by uploading a Submission you represent and warrant that: (a) the Submission is your personal, sole, and original creation and has not been derived from, reproduced, or copied in whole or in part from any work by a third party person or entity; (b) the Submission does not violate or infringe any intellectual property right of any kind, including but not limited to any copyright, trademark, trade name, publicity right, or other proprietary right of any person or entity; (c) the Submission is your personal, sole, and exclusive property; (d) any person(s) depicted in the image has given his or her approval for the submission; and (e) no person or property depicted in the image is depicted in a misleading, misrepresentative, or false fashion;


D. The Submission(s) and its title and description are subject to the following content guidelines, and may not, in any instance, in FNAC’s judgment:


(i) Contain, depict, reflect, promote or endorse nudity, profanity, obscenity or pornography; content that is sexually explicit or suggestive, violent, derogatory, disparaging, or defaming; or potentially hazardous content, behavior or activities;

(ii) Contain, depict, reflect, promote or endorse the sale, distribution, possession, use, or abuse of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, firearms, knives or other weapons; or any particular social or political agenda, issue or message;

(iii) Appear to duplicate or replicate a previously received Submission;

(iv) Contain, depict, reflect, promote or endorse any third party owned trademarks, logos, copyrights, images, or trade dress (such as clothing bearing a distinctive logo, a third party’s artwork, or materials from movies or published in other media) including third party products;

(v) Contain, depict, or reflect any identifying information relating to any person depicted, (such as license plate numbers, personal names, email addresses or street addresses), and including any likeness or other information of famous individuals (such as past or present celebrities or public figures, or individuals impersonating them);

(vi) Contain, depict, reflect, promote, endorse or communicate content inconsistent with the reputation and corporate image FNAC and/or FUJIFILM Corporation wish to communicate; and/or

(vii) Violate any law, or reflect, advocate or promote any activity that may violate any law.

Submissions determined by FNAC to violate any of the above content guidelines are subject to rejection. FNAC reserves the right to take all necessary measures to remove any given Submission as it deems appropriate in any given instance, and/or to change any Submission title or description provided at any time and for any reason.


E. If the Submission(s) contains, reflects or incorporates any materials, content or elements that are subject to the rights of third parties, the Submitter is responsible for obtaining, prior to providing the Submission, any and all releases, permissions and consents necessary to permit the use and posting of the Submission by FNAC and its parent and affiliate companies (including without limitation, FUJIFILM Corporation). This includes obtaining the written release, permission and consent to use any name, image, likeness or property of any person who, or items that appear in or are identifiable in the Submission(s). Where a minor appears in or is identifiable in any given Submission, the Submitter is responsible to put a written release, consent and permission into place with the appropriate parent or guardian of such minor. FNAC reserves the right to request documentation reflecting these releases, permissions and consents from any Submitter at any time, and to undertake measures to remove the posting of any given Submission(s) pending receipt of such documentation.


3. LICENSE FOR FNAC TO POST AND POSTING GUIDELINES: Upon submitting a Submission, each Submitter grants to FNAC, its parent and affiliate companies, a royalty free, irrevocable, perpetual and worldwide right and license (but without any right of sublicense) to modify, adapt, and reproduce the Submission, and to use and display the Submission, in whole or in part, either (i) on the FNAC Instagram (@fujifilmx_us), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/FujifilmXUS), or Twitter (@FujifilmX_US) Account, as a social media post; or (ii) on a FNAC or parent/affiliate company website (such as, without limitation, www.fujifilm-x.com), including without limitation, as a homepage banner. Submitter understands that any use made of the Submission will be commercial in nature, and may be in connection with the promotion of a FUJIFILM branded product. This right and license is granted in return for FNAC’s review and consideration of the Submission and in return for the potential opportunity for publicity resulting from FNAC’s posting and tagging of the Submission, and without any right or expectation of the Submitter to receive any further compensation (directly or indirectly) of any kind. FNAC and its parent and affiliate companies shall have no obligation to provide further notice to, or to obtain any further approval from, the Submitter. All Submission postings to be made by FNAC will be subject to the following posting guidelines:


A. If FNAC posts any given Submission, FNAC will use commercially reasonable efforts to credit the Submission on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by tagging the Submitter’s handle as provided to FNAC through the Site. FNAC will credit each Submission on the FNAC website with the Submitter’s first name and last initial, and Instagram handle if and as applicable. If city and state information is provided, FNAC may reference that information as well in connection with any given Submission posting. Note that FNAC does not guarantee that any given Submission will be posted.


B. FNAC is not responsible for any unauthorized third party use of any Submission. Without limitation, this includes any copying, reproduction, distribution, re-postings, forwarding, linking to, or re-publication made by any third party at any time.


C. FNAC shall have the right to modify each Submission, including but not limited to, altering, and editing any provided description. By uploading a Submission, each Submitter agrees that he or she shall have no right of approval, no claim to additional compensation and no claim (including without limitation, claims based upon invasion of privacy, defamation, right of publicity or copyright) arising out of any use, alteration, modification, editing of any or all of the Submission.


4. FUJIFILM SITE CONTENT AND PROPERTY: The trademarks, service marks, trade names, logos, designs, images, and content at any time displayed on the Site, including but not limited to FUJIFILM, INSTAX, FinePix, BUILD YOUR LEGACY, any other trademarks, logos, designs, and intellectual property and the FNAC posted content and images, shall at all times be the sole property of FNAC and/or its parent and affiliates, or shall be the property of third parties (such as any given Submitter) used by FNAC with any necessary and proper permissions in place. Nothing contained on the Site should be construed as granting, by implication, estoppel, or otherwise, any license or right for any Submitter, or any third party, to use any trademark, service mark, logo, design, trade name, product name, content or image displayed on the Site without the prior written permission of FNAC. For absolute clarity and without limitation, no Submitter or third party is permitted to post, display, publish, forward, link to or re-publish any images of FNAC or any Submission(s) of any other party unless specifically authorized to do so in writing by FNAC. Neither FNAC nor its parent or affiliate companies are sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or otherwise affiliated or associated with, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platform.


5. NO REPRESENTATIONS AND WARRANTIES, AND LIMIT OF LIABILITY:

A. FNAC DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES AND REPRESENTATIONS RELATING TO THE SITE AND TO ANY IMAGES OR CONTENT POSTED ON THE SITE, EXPRESS AND IMPLIED, TO THE GREATEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. FNAC ALSO ASSUMES NO RESPONSIBILITY, AND WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR, ANY DAMAGE TO, OR VIRUSES THAT MAY INFECT, ANY SUBMITTER’S OR SITE VISITOR’S COMPUTER EQUIPMENT OR OTHER PROPERTY, OR FOR ANY LOSS OR CORRUPTION OF ANY MATERIALS, IMAGE, CONTENT, OR DATA ON ACCOUNT OF ACCESS TO, USE OF, OR BROWSING IN THE SITE, OR RELATING TO OR BY REASON OF A SUBMITTER’S SUBMISSION OF ANY MATERIALS, IMAGE, CONTENT OR DATA TO THE SITE.

B. NOTWITHSTANDING THE FOREGOING OR OTHERWISE ANY OTHER PROVISION HEREOF, IN NO EVENT SHALL FNAC'S TOTAL LIABILITY TO ANY SUBMITTER OR SITE VISITOR FOR ALL DAMAGES, LOSSES, CLAIMS, LIABILITIES AND CAUSES OF ACTION (WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE) EXCEED THE AMOUNTS PAID BY SUCH SUBMITTER OR SITE VISITOR TO FNAC, IF ANY, IN CONNECTION WITH SUBMITTING MATERIALS, IMAGES, CONTENT OR DATA TO THE SITE, OR IN ACCESSING THE SITE, AS APPLICABLE. IN NO EVENT WILL FNAC BE RESPONSIBLE IN ANY INSTANCE FOR ANY INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION LOST PROFITS, LOST OPPORTUNITIES, OVERHEAD OR ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES, LOSS OF USE, OR DAMAGE TO REPUTATION OR GOODWILL) EVEN IF APPRISED OF THE LIKELIHOOD OF SUCH DAMAGES.


6. COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT AND TAKE-DOWN PROCEDURE: If you believe in good faith that any material, image, or content appearing on the Site infringes your copyright, then you (or your agent) may send us a written notice that complies with this provision, requesting that the applicable image, or content be removed. Note that by submitting this written notice, you acknowledge and agree that FNAC may forward your written notice (to include your, or your agent’s, personal contact information) and any related communications received by FNAC to the original Submitter of the allegedly infringing content. Furthermore, by submitting this notice, you acknowledge and agree that FNAC’s sole responsibility to you upon receipt of such notice will be to remove the allegedly infringing image or content, and you acknowledge and agree that you will have no further right or remedy against, or as to, FNAC for its original posting of the Submission on the Site, although you may have other rights and remedies as to the Submitter.
Your infringement notice must be sent to [email protected], and must include the following information:


A. A copy of your specific image or copyrighted work that you are claiming has been infringed;
B. identification of the FNAC posted image or content that is claimed to be infringing or the subject of infringing activity, and information reasonably sufficient to allow FNAC to locate such image or content on the Site;
C. the name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address of the complaining copyright owner;
D. a statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the image or content by the original Submitter is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; and
E. a statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
F. a physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner.
Within ten (10) business days of receipt of a written notice meeting the above-referenced requirements, FNAC will take down the allegedly infringing image or content, and notify the Submitter of such image or content of your claim / infringement allegation. FNAC will not re-post the removed, allegedly infringing image or content until it receives written notice from the complaining party that the dispute has been resolved. The process outlined in this provision is the exclusive process to be used to complain to, or otherwise advise, FNAC about any infringement of your rights by any Submitter or any Submitted image and/or content posted on the Site.
7. PRIVACY POLICY: Personal information contained in a Submission or otherwise communicated to FNAC will be used in accordance with FNAC’s Privacy Policy, which can be found here: [INSERT LINK TO PRIVACY POLICY]. In addition, and as stated above in Section 6, your contact information may be shared to a party complaining of infringement. By uploading a Submission, you hereby agree to the Privacy Policy.

8. MISCELLANOUS TERMS:

A. By uploading a Submission, a Submitter is communicating with FNAC electronically. Each Submitter consents to receive communications relating to the Submission from FNAC electronically, generally by email. FNAC may communicate by e-mail, or by other electronic methods such as through social media communications. Each Submitter agrees that all agreements, notices, disclosures and other communications that FNAC provides electronically satisfy any legal requirement that such communications be in writing.

B. All Submissions are administered by FNAC from its offices in Valhalla, New York, United States of America. These Terms and Conditions are governed and interpreted under the laws of the State of New York without regard to its conflict of laws provisions. Each Submitter agree that any claim or dispute against FNAC arising out of or relating to the use of the Site must be resolved by a court located in the Eastern District of New York, unless otherwise agreed upon by all parties. Any claim or cause of action arising out of or related to a Submission must be filed within nine (9) months after such claim or cause of action arose, regardless of any statute or law to the contrary. In the event any such claim or cause of action is not filed within such 9 month period, each Submitter specifically agrees that such claim or cause of action shall be forever barred.

C. These Terms and Conditions and the Privacy Policy, which are part of these Terms and Conditions and are incorporated herein by reference, set forth the entire understanding and agreement between the Submitter and FNAC with respect to a Submission. Each Submitter acknowledge that any other agreements between with respect to a Submission is superseded and of no force or effect. If any provision of these Terms and Conditions shall be determined to be unlawful, void or for any reason unenforceable by a court or other legal authority of competent jurisdiction, then that provision will be severed from these Terms and Conditions and will be deemed replaced by an equivalent enforceable provision that, as nearly as possible, reflects the intent hereof. The severance of any individual provision of these Terms and Conditions will not affect the validity and enforceability of any remaining provisions.

BY UPLOADING A SUBMISSION, EACH SUBMITTER AGREES
TO BE BOUND BY THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS
AND THE PRIVACY POLICY.

  • Should be Empty: