Wednesday, April 22, 2009

photo mentality

I've got a problem with the institution of wedding photography. I certainly don't object to having photos taken -- one might want to have something to look at and remember one's wedding, sure. People who weren't there might want something to feel like they were involved. Parents might want a little keepsake. Great! But more and more, I feel like people focus more on the photos than on the wedding itself.

Examples (real life people's internet stories, edited and paraphrased and all that):
  • A bride's mom pays to have bridesmaids' tattoos airbrushed out of the photos.
  • Brides with non-traditional hair colors get comments that it will "ruin the pictures."
  • A woman wants her bridesmaids to wear a temporary tattoo, but worries that it's overbearing to request that they change how they look (what if people think it's a real one?). Commenter suggests "have a picture taken of them all putting the tattoos on to show they just did it to support your wedding" -- what, is it not official if it's not in a photo?
  • Bridal makeup is always heavier than day-to-day makeup, because it has to show up well in pictures. Even if it makes the poor girl look really weird to the people who are actually attending the wedding.
It's not photography that makes you married, people! Maybe it's the magazine-ization of weddings that leads to this kind of attitude. These days, weddings are something that people consume as photos in magazines far more often than they get married themselves or even attend the weddings of others. What they see is the pictures. In that sense, is a wedding really an event and a party where two people celebrate their commitment with the people they care about? Or is it one really long and extra-fun photo shoot?