On a wet and dreary day in early January, something magical happened in Somerset House Studios. Several months before, the Elephant team had begun hatching plans with Tai Shani and Sin Wai Kin (the subjects of our Spring Summer 2022 issue’s double interview) and photographer Hidhir Badaruddin, to stage a photoshoot that would see the artists “get married” and realise their vision of the ultimate creative collaboration. The brief was clear: “high camp and super glamorous”.
The shoot took place in a colossal space known as the gymnasium, on loan to Shani before she moved into her permanent studio within the building. Armed with voluminous bridal attire courtesy of Roksanda (Shani has a long-standing friendship with the designer) and sharp tailoring from Gucci, we constructed the dreamiest of settings, staged among art supplies, work benches and boxed-up artworks, including a gigantic green hand. The set featured a fabulous backdrop, hand painted by Badaruddin and set designer Bubby Nurse. It took the form of pink fluffy clouds that wouldn’t look out of place on a super kitsch Valentine’s card, or a Rococco painting.
“We constructed the dreamiest of settings, staged among art supplies, work benches and boxed-up artworks”
A group singalong of the Bridal Chorus kicked off proceedings, with the happy couple striking killer poses that alternated between steely intensity and dazzling grins. The ease and intimacy of the ensuing shots is no surprise seeing that the artists have been friends for years, and each has a practice underpinned by the all-encompassing power of performance. Moreover, Badaruddin is known for subtle, intimate portraits that deconstruct preconceived notions of gender. The result? Quite possible the best wedding Elephant has ever witnessed.
All images shot on polaroid by Tom Joyes
Elephant Spring Summer 2022
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