Behind the Lens: A Q&A With SILK INSPIRE’s Sephi Bergerson
August 14, 2017
The destination is India; the photographer is Sephi Bergerson. And as someone who came from a commercial and photo-j background, it’s taken years for him to accept the title of wedding photographer.
Bergerson was living in his native Israel and had never shot a wedding when he and his wife moved to India in 2002. There, he took up documentary work for international NGOs. At the end of 2008, when the recession started, it drove him to take up weddings as paid assignments.
Since then, Bergerson, with his grand, multi-day ritual wedding coverage, has published a groundbreaking wedding photo book, Behind The Indian Veil (2015), organized SILK INSPIRE (India’s first wedding photography festival), and shot an Indian wedding entirely on his iPhone 6s Plus. And he’s just getting started.
JT: How would you describe your photo aesthetic and style?
SB: I am good with people. I know what I want to say, and coming from a photography school background (Hadassah College of Technology in Jerusalem, 1991), I know how to say it with images. I don’t really think about my style. I just take pictures that I see. It is a very intuitive process for me. Somewhat like riding a bicycle. I just do it.
JT: Why are you so drawn to Indian weddings?
SB: What fascinates me about them is that they are always different. There is nothing—not a thread or a piece of cloth—that is the same. Every wedding has its own rituals.
JT: Would you say the allure of the Indian wedding and its rituals set you on your seven-year journey to publishing Behind The Indian Veil?
SB: Absolutely. As I traveled through all of India, I was invited into sacred places and intimate moments normally inaccessible to outsiders, witnessing sacred traditions that even people from India don’t necessarily know about. It was a truly eye-opening experience that allowed me to witness such a variety of Indian weddings.
JT: So totally switching gears, what prompted you to shoot an Indian wedding last year using only an iPhone?
SB: I keep simplifying my gear and try to work with smaller and smaller equipment. I’ve shot a lot on the iPhone when I travel, and I just wanted to see if it was possible to also do a wedding on the iPhone. I was lucky enough to have a client who trusted me, and a great support team on regular cameras. I was shooting with the iPhone and directing the team at the same time, so the client got very good “regular” coverage too.
JT: Could the iPhone ever replace your DSLR?
SB: Absolutely not. It just offered me a new way of looking at the assignment, but it’s not a replacement for my regular gear. I liked that I could play with the images, post-process and share them immediately. And I liked that they come out somewhere between documentary or photojournalism and what I would call fine art, closer to paintings (like the image above). It enables me to work in a non-intrusive way, but I don’t see myself shooting another wedding on the iPhone, unless of course someone hires me for this type of coverage.
JT: So what DSLRS do you shoot with, and other equipment?
SB: I am using Fujifilm gear now: two X-T2 bodies and a few prime lenses (16, 23, 35, 50, 56 and 85mm). I keep experimenting with gear all the time and have recently started using the RoboSHOOT triggers to use my old Nikon flashes with the Fuji cameras.
JT: In less than three months, SILK INSPIRE takes place. Can you explain a bit about what it is and how it began?
SB: A couple of years ago, my wife and I started a new initiative that became what we believe is the world’s first representation agency for wedding photographers, SILK PHOTOS. This boutique photo agency, based in India, represents a select group of wedding photographers, both still and motion, specializing in wedding coverage both in India and around the globe. Once a year, SILK PHOTOS organizes SILK INSPIRE, India’s first wedding photography festival. It’s a five-day event of unforgettable photography learning, inspiration and fun, and the festival brings together an incredible panel of international award-winning photographers for a series of seminars, panel discussions and master classes. This year it takes place in Goa, October 6 -10, and panelists include Brian Callaway, Zack Arias, Andrea Corsi, Jeff Newsom and many others.
For more information and to see more of Bergerson’s work, visit: