A Wedding Photograph

1905 wedding photograph

A cousin posted this photograph on Facebook recently – it’s my great grandmother Julia. She married David Hayes on 20th May 1905 in Ireland. Aged 26 then, she died in 1951. What strikes me about this image, photographed on or around their wedding day, is that it would be one of only a handful of images taken in their lifetime. Of course photography was very different then, a relatively expensive and slow process. These days, particularly with Facebook and other sites, images of our lives, what we look like, what we are doing and where we are, can run into the thousands every year. Of course a wedding is and was a high point in everyone’s lives. I understand the custom in Victorian and Edwardian times was, if you were wealthy enough,  was to commission a studio portrait on or around the wedding day to commemorate the event. Due to the camera exposure times, the subjects had to remain still for a few seconds to avoid camera blur which was often the main reason for those stern, fixed expressions.

There’s a great series on the site retronaut.com called smiling Victorians which has some beautiful photographs of ordinary people exhibiting an uncharacteristic joie de vivre. Because we are visually so used to the image of the grim Victorian, these photographs are really compelling.

Just for a laugh, we recreated turn of the century  bride and groom photograph at  Tony and Sadie’s wedding at Pennyhill Park Hotel in Bagshot.

Sadie is holding it together quite well but there’s definitely a hint of a smirk on Tony’s face!

I wonder who will be looking at my wedding photographs in 100 years time…who will be looking at yours?





This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Sam

    Fab story!!! I luurve old photos. My parents still have their album and they’ve just had their 50th wedding anniversary – great to have the pics at their party.

  2. Trish L.

    So how long do pictures last? When they’re printed out? These old ones are quite faded. Is that normal? Will mine fade if there in an album or just if I put them on the wall?

    1. simon@hyde-end

      Hello Trish, thanks for the comment. A properly made photographic print should last decades if it’s kept in the right conditions i.e. away from damp and away from direct sunlight. Frame a photograph and hang it on the wall in direct sunlight and it will start to fade before too long. Take reasonable care with it and you should be fine for years. Album prints are even better and will be fine for many decades. In this digital age I am a fan of real photographic prints as a tangible way of reliving your memories and looking back on the high points in your life. Digital files can be corrupted or irretrievably lost but a beautiful hand made wedding album is something you can look through with your children and grandchildren :)

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