June 4 2011: Wedding Photograph by Stevens, Albert Street, Derby (1950s or early 1960s)

On May 30 I posted a school photograph dating (most probably) from the early 1970s and wondered what it was about this particular example of a very generic type of photograph that had caught and held my attention. The image above might be discussed in a similar way, being on one level an entirely predictable ‘bride and groom’ from a wedding folio, of a kind seen by the hundred in any gathering of old photographs.

Most are very much alike but in the example above the combination of an unusually naturalistic shot of the couple (whose postures and expressions appear wholly unforced), the inclusion of a street background rather than a neutral location, such as the regulation ‘church doorway’, the striking hand-tinted colour and the local connection (to a Derby photographic studio) all give unusual twists to the standard wedding photograph.

As with the school photograph posted on May 30, I can easily pinpoint certain factors about this image that go part way to explaining my initial interest in it but it holds my attention because – like that earlier school portrait – it’s a generic photograph that has managed, somehow, to escape many of the least interesting constraints of its own genre, yet remains entirely recognisable for what it is: a wedding photograph.

*As a footnote, I should add that it seems appropriate to be posting this particular image on this particular date as a friends’ wedding will be taking place in Nottingham later today: so quite apart from being of interest in its own right, this one also goes with best wishes to Pish and Alice for the happy occasion.

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