Heather Schultz, a writer for the New York Times, published a blog post a few days ago titled “Vying for a Shot of the Wedding.” Her article discussed the growing trend in photo sharing and the overall presence of social media in events.
New Hampshire couple Laura Bishop and Walter Carroll placed cards on the tables at their wedding with instructions for guests on how to download and upload pictures to an application called WedPics. The couple was able to check WedPics right after the wedding and download all the photos their guests took right to their phones. Other couples choose to create a hashtag for their guests to reference while uploading wedding pictures on Instagram.
While the ease of accessibility with which to take and upload photos represents the growing world of technology, controversy arises when the technological bombardment outshines the intimate moments of a wedding or an event. Heather Waraksa, a photographer in Brooklyn, commented on people’s need to document the entire event saying, “If they have a device in front of their face it doesn’t have the same impact or timelessness.” Ms. Waraksa, when she was married last year, asked guests to turn off their electronic devices during the ceremony, toast, and cutting of the cake.
The interaction of electronic devices and real-time moments of an event creates a two-way dynamic within the event. On one hand we have the guests who are trying to document every minute of the wedding or event by frantically taking photos or brandishing their tablets in the air to get the best snapshot. Whether these photos are for their own personal use or will be handed off to the bride or groom depends on each person.
On the other hand we have the people who maybe take a photo or two but bask in the celebratory spirit of the day and embrace each moment as it materializes instead of trying to capture the entire event from behind a lens. While society today values collaborative effort and sharing special moments, this too can reach an extreme. The host of the event has most likely hired a photographer anyway, and the photographer’s skills and camera equipment will surpass the quality of iPhone photos.
I think Heather Shultz’s article brought up a great point about living in the moment and enjoying life in the present. We are often so caught up in our modern technologies; weddings and special events offer us the time to relax, surround ourselves with loved ones, and embrace life. So while each guest may feel obligated to document the event, the truth is that the artistic aspect of the day is already being covered. The point of being a guest is to come together to celebrate another person’s life milestone.
If you’re afraid of guests getting too caught up in their devices, feel free to restrict the use of electronic devices. After all, a lot of money is going into this event, and you don’t want guests to glaze over these moments from behind their screens. The heartfelt, genuine moments that arise from candid actions of guests enjoying the day will create the best photographs, and the best memories.