In quantify. Everything will lead back to the


In this chapter, I would like to initiate an in-depth discussion on the
relationship between the literature reviews with the trend of pre-wedding
photo shoot events in Indonesia. The connection between semiotics,
mythologies, and habitus to the Indonesian world of photography will be
contemplated throughout this chapter and the contradicting issues between
constructed pre-wedding photo concept and the reality will be clearly
illustrated.

Despite the fact that there are inadequate studies and/or inexact syllabuses
for the photographer in Indonesia, technological advances seem to enable
many photographers to acquire remarkable photographs. The advancement
of technology especially in the world of photography has encouraged people
to be innovative and creative. It also allows many photographers to create
something unique and be prominent amongst their competitors. On top of a
solid pre-wedding photo concept, all they need is the right tools to bring the
product into reality. In the studied case, the development of affordable
cameras with varying capabilities and features has brought a unique trend into
Indonesian society today; that is the emergence of pre-wedding
photographers. Numerous photographers have offered varying types of pre-
wedding photo concepts and styles that are followed by a range of attractive
costs.

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I attempted to observe how this trend could enchant the masses so deeply
that they are willing to spend large sums of money for it. In terms of financial
issues, I have seen many wedding couples hire an amateur photographer that
is not yet famous. Even though amateur photographers may not be as skilled
as the professional, their fee is definitely more reasonable and affordable.
This works well for both parties as the photographer can improve their skills
through the experience, and couples with budget limitations can have the pre-
wedding photographs they desire. Photographers can readily make use of the
available hardware technologies and photo editing software in order to be

creative and yield a magnificent product. After all, people’s taste vary and are
difficult to quantify. Everything will lead back to the photographers’ skill in
suiting the needs of the clients and making their products more appealing
than that of their competitors. It is essential for them to network broadly within
photographers’ circles so that they may understand the latest trend among
this very specific society and therefore secure more clients in the future. I also
assume that financial issues and client’s tastes can create varying trends
within different levels of the established social hierarchy in Indonesian society.

It seems that the practice of pre-wedding photo shoots circulating within
Indonesian society is not merely a tradition or an activity without meaning, but
has messages attached to it. Here, semiotics plays its role in unveiling the
language of pre-wedding photographs. In accordance with the theory of signs,
semiotics has been a useful tool to analyse the visual language of this
practice. In my opinion, Barthes’s approach towards the theory of signs can
be used to trace the background that constructs the trend of pre-wedding
photo shoots in Indonesia. If we analyse the practice of pre-wedding photo
shoots through the way in Mythologies work, we can perceive this practice as
a positive cultural trend which generates meaningful experiences and
mementos for the audience. Moreover, this event is so popular to the extent
that this is as a must-do activity prior to every wedding.

Semiotics, or the theory of signs, claims that objects and events always
signify more than themselves that they are caught up in systems of
perceptions that add meaning to them. In this context, we can see that an
image is substituting the signifier and the concept it articulates is substituting
the signified; altogether they form a sign or symbol of love and intimacy
between wedding couples. As argued in the Literature Review, the sign shows
that what appears to be natural is, in fact, determined by history. The sign
develops the ‘myth’ of the romantic love story for many couples. Although it
may sound nai?ve, it seems that the images have not only been depicting
something intangible in our daily life – such as romantic love and the
attachment of any wedding couple – but also distinguish the taste of a social
group and show their place within the society.

Great pre-wedding photography doesn’t just happen; it has to be planned
meticulously and lovingly captured by a wedding photographer who can share
the vision with the couple. It is a day to be remembered and cherished for a
lifetime hence many couples may think that every romantic, tearful, happy
moment should be preserved forever. The love and romance captured in pre-
wedding photographs can keep memories fresh and romance alive. Wedding
couples can obtain a magnificent pre-wedding photograph with the assistance
of professional photographers to make their dreams come true. Of course it is
not easy to choose a pre-wedding photo concept as many ideas, choices and
habits may generate conflicts. Some of these conflicting situations are easy to
overlook while others may be more complicated for the couple. Some
personal preferences of one of the couple may never suit those of the other,
and compromise cannot always be reached. Nevertheless, it is the job of the
photographer to make things work and get the job done. A photographers’
skill in making their models comfortable is also a part the key to a great result.
In this sense, I conclude that a photographers’ work becomes the myth that
circulates in our everyday life; and this ideal becomes the intelligible part of
the history of pre-wedding photo events in Indonesia.

The trend of pre-wedding photography in Indonesia appears to be created by
anonymous photographers who desire to generate profit; in a way, they are
using and manipulating human sentiments in the process. No matter what
people like it as the event can signify their precious moments which is a
precise and clever marketing strategy. In relation to this issue, I would like to
raise the concern that the language of photographs may sometimes be
unreal. Some photographers can lie and produce something that is not
equivalent to reality. An example can be taken from the image below (See
Image.12). Here my intention is to introduce a discussion of some of the
theories pertaining more specifically to the nature of the photographic sign.
There are many conflicting relations between the sign and its meaning. The
photograph shows that the sky is cloudy and there is a big pond in front of the
building whereas the reality is that there is no cloud and pond instead of a
sandy courtyard and a pale grey sky. Hence, if the relation between signifier
and signified is only defined by convention, then meaning or signification is

socially and historically constructed. By referring to the literature reviews, I am
quite sure that this event is a constructed cultural ‘good’ that has been
circulating in Indonesia for a long time.

Image 12. Photographs versus Reality

(Source: http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic94144.files/Barthes.pdf)

After further investigation, I believe that Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of ‘Habitus’ is
also closely related to Barthes’s ideology in ‘Mythologies’. The role of
Mythologies within this essay is to reveal the signs that construct pre-wedding
photo tradition in Indonesia. Subsequently this issue is also affected by the
habitus whereas cultural practices are developed and affected by the
educational level and/or the social origin of an individual within society. In
habitus lenses, photographers become the providers who have the capacity to
produce classifiable practices or works. Conversely, wedding couples become
the group who consumes and poses the capability to appraise the practices or
products of the photographers.

On the one hand, photographers will be the ones to offer the service, and on
the other side of the coins, the wedding couple will be the ones who judge the
work in relation to their personal tastes. I believe that this phenomena
developed over time and it has become a habit and/or cultural practice among
Indonesian couples who wish to get married. Many social groups in Indonesia
may have been charmed by their habitus and choose to believe that the pre-

wedding photo shoot is a requisite symbol of love and intimacy. However,
they have to be reminded that a mass culture was seen to have an altogether
harmful effect on French political and cultural life. This does not deny the
possibility of potential harm to Indonesian society in other forms of cultural life.
Mass culture was said to have the tendency of homogenizing people in a
society and encouraging uniformity to a social norm. From this understanding,
there might also be a tendency to homogenizing the opinion of the people in
the Indonesian communities. This subtly indicates that if a couple does not
carry out pre-wedding photo shoot then they will regret it in the future. This
pre-wedding event has become an ideology within Indonesian society in
promoting the belief that this event is a requirement for every wedding couple.
This event is purported to be natural and inevitable for those who are about to
get married. 

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