I am always suspect about NY Times reported “trends,” because I’ve found that if a trend is reported in the Times it is either confined to a handful of people in Brooklyn, or the trend was already over two years before the NY Times reporters found out about it. Nonetheless, I read with some interest about the latest trend: “marriage-minded men … conspiring with photographers who … lurk in crowds, behind bushes and in the darkened recesses of restaurants to capture the delighted, unposed reaction of the fiancée-in-the-making” as they are proposed to.
This interests me because of the contrast with Taiwanese Bridal Photography 婚紗照, which I wrote a brief post last year when the phenomenon was covered in the Washington Post. In Bonnie Adrian’s book Framing the Bride, she talks about the importance of glamor in these photos. Taiwanese wedding photos are produced like a fashion shoot, with expensive lighting, numerous costume changes, etc. When they are printed they might even feature overlaid text, just as you would see in a glossy magazine.
This focus on elaborate glamor photography contrasts with what the increasing use of “photojournalistic realism” in American wedding photography pointed out by the Times. You can explore the differences on flickr: here is a search for photos in the “proposal” cluster, and here is a rather typical set of Taiwanese wedding photos (more here).
Former Savage Minds guest blogger, Michael Wesch was quoted in the NY Times for this article, where he comments about how students feel the need to post such photos on Facebook, because “It’s almost like if it’s not on Facebook, it didn’t happen.” Of course, the second the article came out, Mike couldn’t help but post it to his Facebook profile …