On behalf of Andrea and Alva...
06/04/13 23:42 Filed in: Talks
Alva Viarruel, Guardian Photo Editor, tied the knot on Easter Sunday morning with Reuters photographer Andrea De Silva, herself a former chief photographer of the paper. The wedding ceremony took place on the pier at Tobago's Pigeon Point Heritage Park. This photograph, a request by the bride, appeared on the front page of the Sunday Guardian for April 07, 2013.
Photograph by Mark Lyndersay.
On March 31, at seven in the morning, photographers Andrea De Silva and Alva Viarruel married on the dock at the Pigeon Point Heritage Park in Tobago.
I was there, invited by the two young image-makers to speak on their behalf at the reception to be held afterward and while we were milling around after the marriage ceremony and photographs were being taken by Elmo Griffith and Keeara Gopee, among others, Andrea pointed to the nearby sun dappled beach and said, “Hey Mark, let’s do some photos walking along the beach there.”
So that would be the second task I was called on to perform for the young couple that weekend.
This little talk, on behalf of both bride and groom to the assembled guests, was the first...
This is a story about two people who found each other.
It's a story about love.
But it's also a story about photography.
I met Andrea first, more than 20 years ago. She was the young hot thing in the Guardian photo department a young freelancer, vivacious, absurdly attractive with a megawatt smile that floored anyone she trained it on.
I’d meet Alva just a bit later on. He had been a lab assistant at the Guardian who had begun taking photographs of increasing sophistication. I remember a remarkable photo of an urban cyclist with a really good caption and telling him to shoot more like that and to write longer captions. I ended up giving him copies of US magazine, which I’d been reading as a guideline for the kind of little stories he could work up from his photographs. He ran with that, becoming a full-fledged crime reporter who sometimes took photographs before returning to the Guardian almost two years ago to become the Photo Editor of the paper.
These were two young people with ambition and talent. I was fortunate to touch their lives so many years ago. I hope I made a difference in their lives.
I've got many Andrea stories, but a wedding is the bride's day, so I'll save those for blackmail.
But I will tell you an Alva story.
Around 15 years ago, I met up with Alva on Carnival Monday after J’Ouvert on Duke Street, coming back from the festivities at Picadilly and Charlotte Streets. We both heard a sharp pop and then Alva flinched and held his hand. Blood was running from it and it wouldn’t stop. A truck might have rolled over a bottle and a shard probably cut his hand. It was clear that he needed medical attention, so I took his bag and putting pressure on the wound, we walked up the street to the Port of Spain hospital.
There at the Casualty Ward, we were witness to all the madness that reigns on a Carnival morning. The DJ who was stabbed for playing music the crowd didn’t like, a raving, screaming man wheeled by at high speed on a gurney by interns. Eventually a doctor came along and stitched Alva’s cut. We walked down the street, the brilliant sunshine and thinning crowds almost a relief after the concentrated mania of that morning’s experience. We parted company at the top of Charlotte street, heading off in different directions;
There isn't a big moral to this story. We looked out for each other as colleagues and I know that Alva and Andrea have done the same and more for each other.
Now these two photographers, these two friends, have chosen to bind their lives together. In their life's calling they have much in common. That's a blessing, but it can also be a curse. It's something you will need to manage.
It's at this point that I'm supposed to offer sage, experienced advice.
After 13 challenging, wonderful years with my wife Donna, I can confidently offer the following hard won advice.
Andrea. Sometimes Alva will be right. Really. Celebrate, acknowledge and yes, respect those occasions as they will - as all married men know quite clearly - come along very rarely.
Alva. This is absolutely true. It takes practice, but the correct answer to every question your wife asks from this day forth is "Yes dear, that will be fine."
And do us all a favour. Keep this beautiful woman smiling. It's how we've shared the joy of your lives together these past few years.
You will, from time to time, correct each other. Remember to do so as equals. You are two adults who have chosen each other's company, remember that when you disagree and your worst arguments will be at least productive. I can't guarantee cordial, not with two headstrong people like you two.
You've got a good thing going on here. Keep faith with each other, love each other strong and always remember what brought you together today, because it will keep you together for the rest of your lives.