Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
February 3, 2020

Wedding Humor in the Age of Apocalypse

SEWING FOR THE SOIL via AFP - Getty Images

I noticed this picture from South Korea has been making the rounds again. It was taken as a (not-such-a-) joke photo at a wedding in Seoul in June 2015. At the time, the catalyst for the photo was the outbreak of the deadly MERS virus. Today, it strikes a nerve in the shadow of the Cornonavirus raging in China and now reaching abroad.

And it’s a commentary on business-as-usual as the planet, and young people, in particular, face multiple threats to their survival. ⠀

Thinking about wedding pictures in apocalyptic times (heads up, photo contests!), it’s also reminiscent of the viral “firestorm wedding” shot taken in Napa last October by way of the leaping seasonal horror being wreaked on California by climate change. (Shameless plug: this 3 minute clip is from our biweekly Chatting the Pictures webcast.)

Both pictures feed off the new abnormal. And both reflect the survival dance young people, and particularly, newlyweds face today, balancing on the tightrope between “love, honor and cherish” and the ominous crossbeat of “as long as we both shall live.”

(-Michael Shaw)⠀

Photo: A South Korean couple and their wedding guests pose for a photo wearing masks in Seoul on June 6, 2015 © Sewing For The Soil/AFP /Getty Images. Photo 2: @karnamarie. From Sonoma, California, October 2019.

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