Blindfolded Guests Experience Ceremony From The Perspective Of Visually Impaired Bride
Grow Talk by Sofy Robertson
Australian bride, Steph Agnew, asked the guests at her wedding to wear blindfolds during her ceremony so that they could experience the moment from her perspective.
Steph married her fiancé, Rob Campbell, on November 25th in Queensland, Australia. Diagnosed with cone-rod dystrophy at just nineteen-years old, Steph has slowly suffered loss of vision, resulting in her having “no useful vision” left.
Steph and Rob met at a rooftop party in their apartment building in 2016. They had never crossed paths before due to Rob’s schedule as a police officer, a schedule which led Steph to mistakenly believe that he was a “pothead”. (James Day) At the time of meeting, Steph’s vision had already deteriorated significantly, so she has never seen her husband.
The conception of the blindfold idea came during a pre-wedding meeting with photographer James Day and videographers Lemon Tree Film House.
James, a Melbourne based photographer, first met Steph in 2008. She got in touch with James to ask him to take photos of her while she still had her vision. Ten years later, she reconnected with James, asking him to photograph her wedding.
Throughout the day, staff, family and friends helped Steph take in all of the sensory details, describing the setting, flowers and many other details to the bride. Steph expressed her gratitude to her guests’ willingness to wear blindfolds, saying:
“It was amazing that everyone wore blindfolds so that they could experience the vows as I was experiencing them and be completely present and feel the emotion from our words.” (Huffpost)
Photographer James, so used to photographing a bride’s reactions to the visual effects of a wedding, knew a more creative approach was required. Steph explains:
“James had a very special surprise for me: 10 different pieces of fabric infused with different essential oils that were given to me at pivotal moments throughout the day by different people.”
Not only did James capture the photographic moments of the nuptials, he also wrote a detailed and touching photo story that can be found on his website, charting the moments from family meals to wedding dress shopping. James also wrote detailed captions for the images so that Steph and her mother, who also lost her sight due to cone-rod dystrophy, could enjoy the photographs too.
The images of Steph and Rob’s day are truly stunning, depicting moments captured from a truly joyful day. One image that really resonated for me was that of Steph and Rob in the foreground during their ceremony. Their smiles are visible, but the focus of the photo is on the wedding guests, all of whom are blindfolded except for Steph’s mum who has the same ocular condition. It is an image that conveys peace and solidarity and truly captures the relationship between bride and groom, together with their family and friends.