Be My Witness

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I’ve photographed my fair share of small, intimate weddings. Some of them have taken place at client homes, small chapels or county courthouses. Shooting at these ceremonies can be a challenge to me (personally) simply because there is no one else around to distract my presence. I try to minimize that. What I do love about quaint ceremonies is that I get the chance to focus more on the couple’s expressions instead of guests’ reactions.

I was drawn to this image because of the despondent gaze of the bride. I thought that she might not approve of the union. Was she forced into this marriage? I also came to the biased assumption that the photo was taken at a home or studio with no one else in attendance. There actually could have been an audience, although traditionally the minister would have faced the guests and not a wall. I couldn’t figure out if the children belonged to the couple or to the man standing behind them. Was the man a witness or possibly the bride’s father? Perhaps the children are siblings of the bride and/or groom.
Until the abolition of slavery in 1865, marriage between slaves was not officially recognized. This photo was taken in 1908.

Based on my comments above and your own observations, what factors do you feel could have influenced this union?

-Ross Oscar Knight

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The series was inspired by the contemporary images of 50 SHADES OF BLACK special contributor and fusion/destination wedding photographer Ross Oscar Knight.



Anonymous said...

I always love vintage wedding pictures. I think older weddings use to take their cue from European traditions. It's not uncommon for European wedding parties to be made up mostly of a small group of children with one or two adult attendants.

I would also say given the date, their dress, and beautiful surroundings I think this was a pretty well off family. Since this is her wedding day, I hardly doubt those are her children. Today's norms of children before wedlock were very taboo and very unacceptable. Unless she was a widow and this is her second marriage, I just don't see it happening,