Capturing Stellar Brides

Joe Buissink

Joe charts a path that bespeaks of artistic expressions by finding a new frame, a new moment or tracing the speckle of emotion as the couple chart their way to marital bliss. The accomplished  hotographer explains what chronicling wedding moments means to him and takes us into his stunning archives to brings out some  tunning photographs and beautiful stories of his Hollywood brides and many muses.

Hollywood Brides

The wedding photograph has, through centuries and through generations, gone from being just a memento, kept lovingly in an album, to a chronicler of timeless moments stoking (almost) the myth that a photograph can steal a soul. Perhaps it can. For the camera can capture the soul of the moment, and archive the memories for life in its black box.

How else one can eternalize the essence of love, and the trappings of the celebration accompanying it, than with a few drops of digital ‘elixir’ a few clicks, some celluloid, salts and moments? A wedding photograph lingers in the dark no more, with the viewfinder stumbling on to new muses. Wedding photography has found new expression in the realm of art.

Joe Buissink is a trailblazer who has fuelled the imagination of many a bride, and many wedding couples, with a collection of artistic wedding portraits, soul-stirring memories caught in picturesque frames. Boasting an impressive resume of subjects like Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, Hilary Swank, Jessica Simpson and ‘American Idol’ Kelly Clarkson, this wedding photographer has clicked some of the most iconic images of brides from the  world of Hollywood.

The timelessness of a photograph that he clicked of his son nursing his mother catapulted Buissink from his PhD to assuming a new mantle (that of wedding photographer), at the ripe old age of 45. Starting off with humdrum formal portraits, Joe began tracking the narratives unfolding at weddings. His work heralded a new (and bravura) age of wedding photography. Reticently slipping in and out of the celebrations, Joe is always the first one to cry at a wedding, always ready to deliver a real tearjerker.

Every wedding presents more plots for him, unearths fresh narratives and offers more exotic locales. Whether silhouette or overexposed shot (and from the sublime to the sedate), each wedding experience for Joe is different from the tried-andtested and formulaic wedding photography. Buissink has been at weddings where a $2.5 million piano was brought in just so that showman and genius Elton John could play tunes for the couple (and the wedding guests), and where (an exquisite affair, this) a couple were gifted a $5 million yacht, equipped with a crew of about 25, which was to take them for a whirl around the world, on their honeymoon. For Joe, then, luxury weddings are neither strange nor superlative.

Here’s Joe with some of his most iconic moments and some shots of pure perfection.

Christina Aguilera: CINDERELLA BRIDE

This pop icon’s wedding was followed by a sequence of wedding portraits. These remain Joe’s favourites.

Christina had just come back to his room after the ceremony and was grappling with a welter of emotions when Joe swung clandestinely into action. He got her to look at the camera, mapping out a half-lit weave of emotions of the woman behind the pop diva.
One of his favourite moments of the wedding is what Joe calls the ‘Cinderella moment’ for the young bride. Christina had donned ‘blahniks’ that were embellished with real diamonds. Since it was an outdoor wedding, her heels would sink into the grass whenever she would walk around. So to save her diamond-encrusted shoes, an usher rolled out a red carpet every time Christina stepped on to the patch of green earth.

Jessica Simpson: ALTAR PRINCESS

Joe was smitten by Jessica Simpson’s charm. She was marrying her long-time lover Nick Lachey on a rainy day in traditional Riverbend Church in Austin, Texas, in 2002. They were the happiest couple he had ever met, Bedecked in a custom made white strapless, beaded Vera Wang gown, with an 11-carat Harry Winston pave-diamond headband attached to her veil, and hair tied at the back with Van Cleef & Arpels brooches, Joe remembers Jessica as a “fairytale fantasy walking down the aisle”.
These portraits of Jessica came from a chain of thought that kept preoccupying Joe. Equipped with three cameras and a stack of lenses, the nifty photographer swirled from one corner to another, coming up with a series of portraits (in all of 3 minutes) that perfectly captured the glow of celebration. But only after luring away a flock of paparazzi by staging a faux shoot in front of them (outside the church), while the couple escaped from the back door.

Hillary Swank Surreal Beauty

Besides being one of his earliest assignments (and a celebrated wedding of its time), the wedding of actors Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe was also one of the most beautiful moments Joe Buissink had the privilege of capturing on camera. As he searched for the perfect narrative to explore in his photography, Joe landed up on a beautiful plot. He was able to frame Hilary’s ecstasy (and a magical moment) as her best friend Martin Sheen blew bubbles at the petite bride.

Kelly Clarkson: The Runway Bride

Kelly Clarkson, the winner of ‘American Idol’ in its inaugural season, gave Joe Buissink his most thrilling moment as a photographer (and a perfect story to boot). Her wedding had to be cancelled as the paparazzi had got a whiff of the wedding venue and were all prepared to lay siege.
Joe had almost given up before he received a call one night from Kelly asking him to come and cover her wedding, just as she was packing her bags and readying to elope with her fiancé to a stunning locale in the Caribbean. They had decided to have a wedding with just the two of them and a ‘godman’, aka a wedding coordinator. With sun and sand and thigh-high waters, the wedding took place as the vicar held on to the train of Kelly’s dress, the waters of the Caribbean lapping around them.


This was a click that epitomised pictorial perfection, and is a proud addition to Joe’s visual archive. While looking for a bride to steal some moments in the fairytale setting of Careyes, Mexico, he caught on camera a moment that will surely defy the tyranny of time and endure. Through the crack of a door, his camera glimpsed a bride, resting against a giant painting, being dressed by her mother-in-law. Joe’s hand moved swiftly, while his head remained firmly outside to give the bride her privacy. A flash later emerged a portrait that continues to occupy pride of place in the life of these newlyweds, one that tells a tale of ethereal beauty.

A Timeless Bride: VISIONS OF SATIN

Some of Joe’s favourite portraits are those of beautiful brides morphing into metaphoric images of angels. This stunning image of a demure bride, clad in surreal white, entering a Greek Orthodox Church as a streak of light penetrates the cracks in the door, moved the photographer to produce an overexposed image. There are other bridal portraits that give the bride a similarly sublime aura.

Away from the world of 8-carat solitaires and handcrafted luxury-couture offerings lies the universe of a wedding, a universe of beauty and emotions. And this is what has Joe Buissink in raptures. Whether it’s haunting trees and lofty mountains, or winding staircases, the surroundings melt away as the camera captures the inimitable glow that a bride radiates on her special day, in a collection of artistic overexposed images and silhouette shots.

One of the standard signature shots from Joe’s portfolio is a soft portrait of a bride behind her veil. Another image, of a gorgeous bride taken in Acapulco, Mexico, has an interesting story behind it. It was a large affair, and Buissink had missed the personal shots while tackling the glitzy wedding. As he went over his many photographs the following night, he realised there was something missing. So in the dead of night, Joe went up to the bride and asked her to put on a veil over her jeans and flip-flops. As she did so, she was overwhelmed by a flurry of fond memories from her wedding day. It took less than a second for Joe to capture that moment.

Picture of Perfection: SOLITAIRE MOMENTS

For Joe, a wedding is also a live library of romantic stories and beautiful moments. Whether hanging upside down from balconies and dangling from helicopters, or scaling walls and tiptoeing the crumbling railings of a vintage church to get the right angle, Joe Buissink has done it all. All for freeze-framing that rare and once in a lifetime moment amid the spectacle that is a grand wedding.

At the wedding of Jennifer Lopez (to former beau Marc Anthony), Joe had to coordinate with the security crew to help tie massive weather balloons together with wires, to ward off prying photographers hovering above in helicopters. Since the law states that any aviation activity around weather balloons is prohibited, the only shot these photographers managed (and one that was splattered across the tabloids) was that of an aisle with a pesky photographer looking up and clicking them. That was Joe Buissink.

The allure of these extremely private moments is what sets Joe’s pulses racing: from the nerves of the first dance to the thrill of the first kiss after the vows, he manages to capture, for life, a wedding’s beautiful memories. Another favourite of his, an image of a tiny flower girl who suddenly breaks into dance while walking the aisle before the bride, wonderfully conveys the joy of the occasion.

Joe Buissink is dubbed as one of the top ten wedding photographers in the world by American Photo Magazine. He has a plush clientele from the Hollywood glitter like Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, Hillary Swank to the million dollar club members. Joe can further be reached at or through

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