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?