This couple was photographed by Yaron Kaminsky in a convenience store at a gas station near Acre on December 30, a day before the year expired. A convenience store is really the exact opposite of what its name implies, since in principle it is designed for no one and for everyone, located in a place where nothing else is available. An inconvenient place. In this store, what's mostly visible are rows of Bamba, Bissli, sweetened juice, chocolate and CDs, as well as a very thick roll of paper towels all the way in the back, to be used for cleaning up. How much convenience can there be in a roadside store designed for last-resort purchases, empty calories and quick and easy comforts?
But for this young and very attractive couple, the green bottles of Tuborg beer on the upper shelf of the open refrigerator case, the cheap red Formica table, the flat-screen TV above the checkout counter, the colorful stacks of chewing gum and candy near the coffee machine, and the mops propped up in back all make for the perfect setting for a wedding picture.
Why be photographed against the setting sun in Charles Clore Park if you can be photographed against the backdrop of the sunset of civilization itself?
For this couple, the wedding is clearly very important, for otherwise they would not participate in the elaborate production or wear the bridal clothes that, incidentally, are very becoming on them - the hoop skirt of the perfectly unfussy bridal gown beautifully offsetting the bride's sleek white arms.
Kaminsky captures them posing for another - unseen - photographer. They are standing close together, seemingly at his behest; she is sucking in her pretty cheeks a little and puckering her lips; he is smiling a crooked, perhaps slightly distracted smile. They are cooperating with their photographer and, in a strange way, the black and white of the suit and gown lend a certain level of class to the orangey-red plastic and Formica, and the wrappers of fat-laden, synthetic, mass-produced junk food.
This is a peculiar combination of elegance and lowliness, which, though taken without any artistic intentions, ends up creating photorealism, hyperreality, pop art. This pair manages to load their moment with meaning just by giving their romantic (and synthetic in its own right ) photo a non-standard backdrop.
By posing in this shop in their festive attire they are creating an image that is so preposterous it becomes the opposite of kitsch. What transforms the couple and the photo, immortalizing them and turning them from a novelty into art is the same thing that makes Duane Hanson's 1970 "Supermarket Shopper," a vinyl-coated fiberglass sculpture of a woman pushing a shopping cart, into an icon of Pop Art: They are redefining taste in a tasteless world.
This couple is immortalizing its place within consumerism. This wedding is their product now. They decide. When this beautiful bride and her groom are photographed against a backdrop of shelves full of Bamba they become more original than all the couples who are photographed on the beach, or in front of a grand old house, or with the groom helping the bride out of a festively adorned car. They are designing the art that is under their control at the moment, in this convenience store, which is not a personal space. And perhaps in the back shelf of their consciousnesses, they too grasp that the wedding is nothing more than a first stop. A gate. That only the days, months, years and decades to come are what make love certain. And that only the life that is lived together, day after day, is what has permanence.
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