A Chinese wedding photographer captured the deadly earthquake of May 12 during a photo shoot using the Church of the Annunciation outside Pengzhou as a backdrop.
The church built under the direction of French priests a century ago was a popular spot for wedding photos even though it has long been damaged and left decrepit by landslides. The eathquake left it in tatters.
Wedding photographer Wang Qiang had just shot the bride and groom-to-be in one pose and was waiting for the makeup artist to help them change clothes when the ground started shaking.
"I shouted to people, 'run! run!"' Wang said. "The ground shook and we couldn't see anything in the dust."
Wang's and other photographers' wedding shoots for five couples on the afternoon of May 12 in Bailu town turned into an eerie record of China's deadliest natural disaster in a generation.
"The building collapsed within about 10 seconds," said Wang, who lives in Chengdu, the capital of hard hit Sichuan province.
Wang's photo shows a half-cracked, half-shattered facade with its ruins spilling from the front door. Clouds of dust from the magnitude 7.9 earthquake still floated in the air.
When the dust had settled, everyone stood up and realised they were all safe, Wang said. His photos show them standing in disbelief, covering their mouths, wiping dust from their hair. A bride-to-be from another photo shoot pulls up her dress, revealing sneakers.
Wang quickly turned from wedding photographer to journalist. He shot residents huddling under a tarp, relief workers climbing over broken buildings, a hillside that was raw from sliding stones.
Chinese wedding destroyed by earthquake captured on film (Courier-Mail, 25/5/08)
Earthquake wedding pics (News.com.au)