The quake wedding album

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The Independent Online

Wang Qiang had just photographed the bride-and groom-to-be when the ground started shaking. The first sounds he heard were stones falling from the 100-year-old church nearby.

"I shouted to people, 'Run! Run!'" said the photographer yesterday. "The ground shook and we couldn't see anything in the dust."

Mr Wang's and other photographers' wedding shoots for five couples on the afternoon of 12 May in Bailu town turned into an eerie record of natural disaster.

The Church of the Annunciation, which was built under the direction of French priests near Pengzhou, was a popular spot for wedding photos although it was damaged long ago by landslides. The earthquake left it in tatters. "The building collapsed within 10 seconds," said Mr Wang, who lives in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, the hardest-hit region.

Mr Wang's photo shows a half-cracked, half-shattered facade with its ruins spilling from the front door. Clouds of dust float in the air. When the dust had settled, everyone stood up and realised they were safe, Mr Wang said. His photos show them standing in disbelief, covering their mouths, wiping dust from their hair.