philosophy and weddings

I want to know why I love photographing weddings. 

I’ve recently come across the writings of Guy Debord, a French Marxist theorist. Debord wrote extensively on The Spectacle. 

The spectacle is inescapable. 

Whilst we are at work, we are workers, whilst we are at home, we are consumers. Those are the roles ascribed to us and any narrative we form sits within this construct. This then prevents us from having a genuine experience of reality and of ourselves. This fascinates me for many reasons, but in particular the role that weddings play in suspending this apparent construct.

Whilst scrolling through Facebook a few days ago, I stopped to read the headline of a post from Al Jazeera reporting on war in the Middle East. Alongside it, an advert for a coffee machine I had considered buying on Amazon. I found myself perplexed. Is this The Spectacle in action? A deliberate act to dissipate any thoughts I have, to keep me as a consumer, arrested by the thought of delicious crema? Unable to think or feel anything anything other than the compulsion to buy!? 

I then switched back to Lightroom and continued editing…

It is impossible not to smile whilst editing wedding photographs, as one becomes completely consumed by the emotions displayed within them. It became apparent that for all my frustrations with the commercialised reality which I experience, weddings can offer something to two people that very few other events in life can. An absolute escape and, in Debord’s terms, a genuine experience of reality.

Whilst sitting on a hay bail discussing marriage with the videographers at a recent wedding, the conversation naturally transitioned to cost. The usual arguments against elaborate weddings were put forth, ‘you could buy a house’, ‘it’s only one day’ and so on. How much is the experience of the full spectrum of reality really worth? No phones, no workers, no consumers, no established constructs, just purity in lived experience. I have never been so happy as I was on my wedding day, was it because of the suspension of The Spectacle that allowed me to experience something on a higher plane?

If weddings do offer a suspension of this reality, and allow access to higher emotional experiences, then surely the continued suspension is the key to happiness? Ergo, adverts/commercialism are the cause of unhappiness?

I think I’ve got some more reading to do…

Can we escape The Spectacle? I do not know. But I do know that weddings create something truly amazing, something that I witness most weekends. It’s an event that is directly lived, not lived by proxy. An occasion where two people can experience life at it’s most joyous and intense, the extremes of the emotional spectrum, together, and I think that’s pretty cool.

nether winchendon house wedding

This is part of a series exploring why I love weddings, check out more in this article aptly titled, why i love weddings

I’m a London based wedding photographer, shooting all over the UK and into other galaxies (probably).

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