Frequent any of New York City’s large public parks between May and September and you will likely not have to walk far to see a photo shoot of a bridal party. But have you ever stopped to consider whether these shoots are constructed to replicate the actual wedding day?
New York and Hawaii-based photographer, Calli McCaw, stumbled upon the idea for her recent photographic series, “Brides of Central Park,” while frequenting the park, and coming to this exact realization: Many of the bridal shoots are reconstructed. For some, McCaw explains, “the ritual plays out on the actual wedding day. However, other would-be brides arrive in advance of their wedding day, many in rented bridal gowns, frequently worn over jeans and running shoes.”
McCaw quickly became fascinated by the entourage in attendance and production value associated with these shoots. “They [wedding parties] visit Central Park with a retinue of photographers and videographers to pose, often in bizarre settings, in imaginary cinematic moments long on drama, yet short on reality,” she says.
But what was even more compelling to McCaw was the way the images she captured “speak to the artifice of manufactured sentimentality, while others capture amusing oddities,” she notes.
The resulting series of images, McCaw explains, also has a much deeper psychological underpinning: “Reaching beyond the question of what is real, this series compels us to ask whether constructed memories can become more meaningful than real events, whether photography can infuse life into staged emotional moments and even whether created wedding memories can surpass in importance the marriage contract itself.”
To see more work by McCaw, visit: www.callimccaw.com.