The Deadly Bride

Parallel Earth: 262320
Exhibition: the Apocalypse
Parallel Historians: Lisa Markuson, Darien Dawes, and Ben Tumbling.

31690005

Untitled (Deadly Bride Series)
Creator Unknown, circa 1968 – 1975
Photographic prints

The photo series shown here was discovered by an antique restorer and artist named Walla Chase on a roll of undeveloped film, bought at a yard sale in 2007. According to Ms. Chase, the sellers did not know where the film came from or what was on it. The black and white exposures are of remarkable quality. The composition brings to mind the emotion of Diane Arbus, the honesty of Vivian Maier, the strangeness of Lillian Virginia Mountweazel.

The photographs feature a single woman, a single living dead woman. Leading with her nose and mouth, she trudges through thorn bushes and poison ivy, across wooded ruins. Her muscles are flexed, arms held stiffly. There is no doubt of her physical state. And yet, she’s beautiful, clothed in a pristine wedding dress and veil.

Who is she? Who is the photographer? And what exactly is happening in this macabre scene? Regardless of the popularity of the bride’s images, no one has ever come forward to claim ownership of the original film, or shed light on these mysteries.

Theories are plentiful. A bride-to-be, infected at her fitting. A photo shoot, besieged. A wedding ceremony, crashed. An elaborate hoax. No one knows for sure.

“I think the photographer’s dead,” says Chase. She can’t prove it, but her strongly held belief stems from the last few images in the series.

Down to eight shots, the bride is shown stuck. Her dress has caught on a cement barrier. The unknown photographer seems to have taken the opportunity to get closer as the bride struggled to free herself.  With three shots still on the roll, the last exposure captures the bride’s face as she, for the first and only time, looks straight into the camera. Perhaps this, finally, jogs what’s left of her infected mind, and the series is cut short because she has found food.

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For more images from the Deadly Bride collection, click here. Click the + icons below to leave a comment, ask a question, or receive updates.

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