'Just married!' showcases a variety of perfect moments

'Just married!' showcases a variety of perfect moments

The new exhibition, which opens Thursday at the French Cultural Centre, presents an eclectic mix of wedding photographs spanning generations, regions and even social classes

Photo by: Sovann Philong

"Just Married!" exhibition at the French Cultural Centre in Phnom Penh.

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, an exhibition of over a thousand photos of wedding celebrations spanning decades, cultures and classes has come just in time for those wanting to reminisce on old, new and blossoming love.

"Just Married!" opens  at the French Cultural Centre this Thursday and celebrates the simplicity as well as the lavishness of the union of marriage.

The extensive collection of photographs on show has been donated by professional photographers, amateurs and families wanting to share their intimate moments of happiness.

The collection includes images from a diverse range of countries such as Haiti, Japan, Switzerland, Trinidad, Indonesia, India, Brazil, China, Cambodia and the United States.

Dating back to as early as the 1800s, the photos constitute what director of the French Cultural Centre, Alain Arnaudet, refers to as the "great album of the world".

[The photos allow] us to compare various cultures, traditions and styles.

"Each photo celebrates humanity and the special moment where two people are joined by the union of marriage regardless of time, culture and country," Arnaudet said.

"This collection is designed to transport viewers through the space and time of universal happiness - something everyone can indulge in," Arnaudet continued. "Everybody can discover something by looking at these photos."


Photo Supplied

Traditional Khmer wedding.

Photo by:

Sovann Philong

The exhibition showcases wedding photos from multiple regions, traditions and eras.

The framed photographs are divided into seven sections and showcase a wide array of wedding celebrations from modern and, at times, wild wedding shenanigans to traditional pre-Khmer Rouge weddings.

More modern Khmer weddings, featuring several high-profile Cambodian celebrities, are also on display.

Other photos on show include depictions of French country "peasant" weddings, high-class Jewish weddings, Japanese weddings, an array of elaborate Arab weddings, and fashionable Shanghai weddings of the 1930s.

"The older the photograph becomes, the straighter and more traditional the celebrations seem," Arnaudet said. "These photos [from the late 1800s and early 1900s] can be treated as mementoes of history."

"The photos also tell us about different countries and  societies, allowing us to compare various cultures, traditions and styles," Arnaudet said.

The Photos range in quality from amateur shots to professional photographs.

Some have even come out of collections by world-renowned photographers - adding to the fusion of the images on display.

Famous photographers showcasing their work at the exhibition include Claude Hudelot, Jean-Christian Bourcart and Louis Sclavis, New York-based French photographer Philippe Dollo, Chilian photographer Rafael Goldchain, and Brazilian photographer Camila Butcher.

While the photographs are showed together for the first time in Phnom Penh, Arnaudet expects that this exhibition will grow into a worldwide collection.

"We hope this exhibition will be shown in many French Cultural Centres around the world," he said. "Then, it can be expanded in every country it is shown to become a truly worldwide collection."

"Just Married!" opens at the French Cultural Centre this Thursday and runs for 6 weeks before it tours Siem Reap and Battambang.


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