I’ve been exploring the idea of Tianjin as a gigantic film set – or photographer’s studio. Married couples, or their photographers, are obviously sharing the idea: on week-ends, and even week days, you can always find some in iconic locations, such as the front of the Concert Hall.
Or the Italian concession.
These iconic spots are like Medieval cathedrals, as described by Hegel – there is room for a whole people there. The bride poses, while tourists and children pass by, indifferent. Another example of sharing public space – it is like a busy film set, where different shows are shot simultaneously. There is something slightly comic about it – that immortal moment of bliss, captured on the wedding photograph, that image of supreme beauty and accomplishment – has to be captured quickly, before the little girl comes into frame. Using public space in this fashion is not exclusively Chinese, of course – but the lack of privacy – and complete indifference to it – could be.
These brides and groom come in packs, accompanied by photographic teams (I saw a woman carry a reflector one day, but wasn’t in time to snap her). There can be something coming about these packs – this one, spotted in the Italian concession, reminded me of Zola’s wedding party, wandering aimlessly through the Louvre.
Is there a reason why people would rather have their photos taken in front of European style monument than in, say, the ancient culture street or the drum tower? The style of clothes is western itself, and it seems that ‘Western’ brings an air of romanticism to life. Or is it just to give themselves the illusion of a trip overseas, that couples immortalise that moment in their life in front of Greek columns?