Guernsey Photography Festival 2021


Nathalie Boulouch

Les Mariés

See all photographers

“Thanks to photography, marriage is one of the world’s most commonly shared acts of love. In the photographer’s studio, the groom and the bride come to manifest their union. Facing the camera, they perform an agreed social ritual amidst familiar accessories: bouquets of flowers, painted backgrounds, lamps, columns, wrought iron railings etc. Each couple lives its own intimate history, yet all the portraits are troublingly similar. The almost identical clothing, attitudes, decors and accessories, up to the bouquets of flowers are only variations of a unique socially codified moment whose repetitive character is underlined by this assembly of 35 portraits by the French photographer René Thersiquel. The portrait of a couple in the studio reveals the way in which bodies slip into archetypes of poses whose conventions they have internalized. In the imposed framework, only a few details come to tell individual stories that are as many love stories surreptitiously captured by the photographic lens.

In contrast, the Swiss artist Romain Mader mocks the agreed aesthetic of wedding photography. Taken from the Ekaterina project (2009-2016) in which he plays the leading role of a tourist who went to Ukraine to look for a fiancée, his fictional wedding photograph is an act of rebellion against the codes. The intrusion into the frame of the image of his smiling bridegroom head subverts the archetypes, breaking into the picture. His half-blurred face and his attitude contrast with the portrait of the young bride placed in the background which embodies, conversely, the image of the perfect wife met on the internet. By playing with the codes of the selfie, Romain Mader is sarcastic about practices and stereotypes institutionalized by wedding photography.” - Natalie Boulouch

About Nathalie Boulouch

Nathalie Boulouch is an associate professor of contemporary art and history of photography at Rennes 2 University in France. She has curated exhibitions and written numerous essays on the history of colour photography and on photographic forms of documents and archives.