BE MY WITNESS
I've photographed my fair share of small, intimate weddings. Some of them have taken place at client homes, small chapels or county courthouses. Shooting at these ceremonies can be a challenge to me (personally) simply because there is no one else around to distract my presence. I try to minimize that. What I do love about quaint ceremonies is that I get the chance to focus more on the couple's expressions instead of guests' reactions.
I was drawn to this image because of the despondent gaze of the bride. I thought that she might not approve of the union. Was she forced into this marriage? I also came to the biased assumption that the photo was taken at a home or studio with no one else in attendance. There actually could have been an audience, although traditionally the minister would have faced the guests and not a wall. I couldn't figure out if the children belonged to the couple or to the man standing behind them. Was the man a witness or possibly the bride's father? Perhaps the children are siblings of the bride and/or groom.
Until the abolition of slavery in 1865, marriage between slaves was not officially recognized. This photo was taken in 1908.
Based on my comments above and your own observations, what factors do you feel could have influenced this union?
-Ross Oscar Knight
*LOVE AND MARRIAGE: A New Series by 50 SHADES OF BLACK – a project exploring sexuality and the complexity of skin tone in the shaping of identity.
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