Weddings: Manifestation and Use of Ritual

15 images Created 21 Feb 2016

There are three major life transformations - birth, marriage and death. The first and the last are mandatory and marked by a very profound physical transformation. Only marriage is a uniquely optional, albeit profound, cultural transformation. As a result of this nebulous nature of marriage, rituals and customs are adhered to in order to solidify the words just spoken and prove to the community, and participants, that a social and personal change has taken place. What symbolic and ritual props or exercises are performed as part of the marriage rite for the bride and groom to feel that the bond has become fact and to embrace this new state of personhood? This photo series is an exploration into the ritualistic behaviour that permeates the socially constructed life transition of marriage.

The rituals and symbols are forever changing to incorporate personal taste, culture and a desire to "brand" themselves as a couple, but they are always incorporated to some degree. Having the celebration documented is near universal - although it represents an idealized and edited view of what has taken place - staged with all preparations and connecting elements omitted.

While the industrial wedding complex has convinced couples' to personalize their weddings with personal and cultural artifacts in order for it to be more representative of "them", the ceremonies and celebrations are ultimately the same, with photography being the unifying thread. With each subtle personalization of the vows, cake and decor, the photographic evidence proves that ultimately all weddings are essentially the same.

This is a visual monograph on social change - how couples present the act of marriage as both an indication of their personalities and individuality, whilst still conforming to acceptable traditions of marital bonding with corroboration through the photographic process.
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