Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Trash the Dress

80's Style Wedding Dress in the Ocean - Click to enlarge

Trash the dress, also known as fearless bridal or rock the frock, is a style of wedding portrait photography that contrasts elegant clothing with an environment in which it is out of place. It is generally shot in the style of fashion and glamour photography . This is the wikipedia definition.

It is most common with modrn brides who do this rather than preserving and storing away this garment that will for the most part be worn only once. They do not expect their children or sisters to wear them and wish to get more than a single use from this dress they have spent a lot of time choosing. For former brides it tends to be cathartic, a removing of the vestiges of a marriage that did not work. It is becoming popular to do sessions with High School or College formal dresses as well.

The preferred style tends to involve water in some fashion so as to be creative but not to truly damage the dress beyond repair. Some more adventurous brides decide to have pictures taken on rooftops, garbage dumps, fields, and abandoned buildings getting the dress dirty and really emphasizing the contrast between elegance and grit. In more extreme measures the dress is completely destroyed with fire, paint or by ripping and tearing.

While we were in Destin, Florida for Mary Helen and Jason's beach wedding we decided to play with a trash the dress session at the beach. The setting by the old pier pilings was too stunning not to explore with some fun photography. While our Bride wasnt about to take her watered silk gown into the water (I dont blame her) we did find a gown at the local resale shop and a volunteer to be our "model". Kristina was willing to go out on the beach for a late afternoon photo shoot and to play in the water. After setting a day/time for the shoot we went to pick up the dress and also picked up another non-wedding gown we had seen. This second dress (probably a prom dress) had sparked ideas of a "Neptune's Daughter" look so off we went to the local beach shops for accessories....shells,a net and some beach jewelry.

We had beautiful skies for our setting and very curious onlookers as we set our spot at the beach. We had Kristina go with more dramatic makeup than she usually wears and zipped her into the 80s style wedding gown. We had toyed with the idea of having her actually tear the dress and brought along scissors to help as the seams in this dress were very strong. As soon as we zipped her up and she said she felt like the Bride of Dracula we knew we had the right idea....she'd have no problem wanting to rip this thing up. Sure enough as soon as we had her leaning on the piling she went to work...we then had her move into the water and continue ripping. A last step for this dress was to get out of the water and step out of the trashed dress leaving it behind for a swim in the ocean.

Then we moved to our Neptune's daughter plan by getting some shells strewn on the beach and tangled into our net. We slipped Kristina into the dress and placed strands of faux pearls in her hair. What luck, this second dress fit her perfectly. By now Kristina was all relaxed and our audience had dispersed so off she went into the water.... First at the edge just dragging the net behind her and then deeper letting the low waves buffet her a bit and roll behind. After our shoot off we all went to clean up and then to dinner. We ended up with some amazing photos and some new friends.

OK Barbara, we're ready for your session now..... Green Neptune's Daughter Idea - Click to enlarge


Anonymous said...

I wished I could of seen more of the "Trash The Dress". The shots so far look "Wonderful" Great idea to tell the story behind "Trash The Dress"

I still have my dress from 33yrs. ago. I'm very traditional and I would of loved my daughter, if I could have any childer, to atleast done something with my dress.
But, instead it sits in the closet aging like the rest of us..

Thanks for the Great Picture's as usual..

Fairfax, Virginia

Anonymous said...

Are there more pictures of the first dress (long-sleeve)?