Forget the Mao suits of a generation ago. Actually, forget about any clothes at all. Being photographed nude is the hot new trend of wedding photos among newly-wed couples in once deeply conservative China, irking the Shanghai Wedding Trade Association to call for a government ban on this new fad.
The association says posing nude as a memento of your big day is disrespectful of the institution of marriage.
“We don’t advocate such wedding photographs as they are out of keeping with the conservative traditions of Chinese people,” the association’s vice president He Lina was quoted as saying.
“Weddings should be holy ceremonies, so we hope young people can show respect.”
He also expressed concern over privacy issues, saying couples were running the risk of their intimate pictures being sold or put online by unscrupulous photographers.
Unlike in the West, Chinese wedding photos are normally taken months before the ceremony and show couples posing in Western and Chinese outfits.
Some studios have begun offering couples the option of portraits of them wearing nothing at all or with strategically placed sheets or other objects covering their bodies. The naked wedding picture business is an open secret among many local photography studios.
Though not included in the service menu, many studios allow new couples to choose from a number of options. These include wearing nothing at all or covering private parts with strategically placed decorations.
“Most of the people who come here to have the bold, naked photos taken are young, trendy and unconventional”, said a studio owner. He did mention that, in most cases, the photos were carefully taken to avoid displaying full-frontal nudity.
Privacy concerns were also echoed by Zhao Jiaoli, secretary general of the Shanghai Commission of Consumers’ Rights and Interests Protection, who advised young couples to sign detailed confidentiality agreements with studios.
“An agreement is important for customers to protect their rights if the studio violates their privacy,” said Zhao. “But many studios don’t provide contracts.”
She also encouraged the wedding trade association to set up regulations making confidentiality agreements compulsory for the business.
“What if the couples get divorced? What would they do with the naked pictures? Burn them or use them to threaten each other,” asked a web user on sina.com.
Supporters of the naked wedding photos say the photos capture a couple’s deep love and intimacy and are a welcome renewal to the stale unchanging traditions of the wedding photo. This attitude is now prevalent China.