Bride and Groom

Silver Gelatin Photograph

Signed, titled and dated on print recto. Edition # 14/50.

Influenced by Duane Michals and Les Krims, Arthur Tress produced a diverse body of work embedded with hidden dramas. He imagined and shot the photograph, “Bride and Groom” in 1970. This silver gelatin print of Stephen Brecht portrays him as half bride, half groom; half woman, half man. Within the square frame, the subject is centered in the foreground amongst the rubble of what looks like an old church, with the motifs of alter-like molding in the background. Photographed straight on, the ceremony and ritual of a wedding is referenced in the hand gestures of the figure. While the male side has his hand raised affirming the oath of marriage, the female side curtsies in confirmation.

The picture can be interpreted as a parody of marriage and references ideas such as the intersubjectivity of identity and notions of sexual and gender fluidity. With a sense of humor, the photograph is smart, whimsical, and surreal. It merges husband and wife, creating a unified identity from two different people as Tress embodies the desires, dreams, and the fears associated with marriage. This photograph is a perfect representation of Arthur Tress’ signature style of “magical realism” where he combines elements of real life with strange fantasy. His job is to not merely record what he sees around him but to reveal that which is typically left unseen.