Roland Barthe

So, heres an interesting thing, which affects us wedding shooters directly....IMO. Roland Barthe was an academic and he wrote the brilliant Camera Lucida. One of his most famous themes was the idea of Punctum and Spectrum in a photograph. Simply put, and as far as I understand it, the spectrum is the broader purpose, or obvious content of a photo. In this case It's two black children and they are dressed as though at a wedding from which we surmise that its a picture of two black chiildren at a wedding. The Punctum, is a more subjective, fleeting idea but, again as I understand it, refers to the element in any photo -if there is one - which gives it a separate identity or unique interest. One can go quite deeply into the idea of Punctum, but in this photo it is rather obvious. The Punctum here is the sister's fascination with the texture of her little brothers newly (one assumes) cropped hair, manifested by the finger lovingly grazing the surface of the scalp and her dreamy, fascinated gaze.
I think that traditional wedding photography was once utterly devoid of Punctum, as is, if I may say so, much contemporary wedding photography, particularly the more posed stuff.....including my own....although I hate to admit it. But things are changing and I feel that wedding photography is no longer the car salesman at the Chelsea art show premiere. It simply depends on how you approach it. A wedding can be a perfect vehicle for virtually any photographic aspiration that you may have....photojournalism, food, action, portraiture, fashion, architecture - even, laden as these events are with ritual, tradition, and people doing what people do. Or we can just go for the Punctumless money shot and win a few competitions. Up to you. Its not bitterness, or pompous, Its just a matter of personal taste. Just a few ideas which spring to mind on this Sunday morning. Have a great day everybody!


Jason Pierce-Williams/