James Day is no stranger to wedding photography. This Sydney-based photographer has been hired for over 600 weddings.
Even though he had a lot of experience, he recently found himself in a unique situation when a bride-to-be named Stephanie gave him a call.
She was getting ready to marry her fiance, Rob but she had a rather unique circumstance. Stephanie is blind.
Stephanie inherited a disorder, cone-rod dystrophy, from her mother. When she was a child, she spent a lot of time preparing for the perfect wedding but after she lost her sight, she lost a lot of her motivation.
“It was since Steph was a little girl. She wanted her fairy-tale wedding. And we were so sad when she said that she didn’t think she could do it,” her mother recalled.
James wanted to do more for his client, so he started searching.
He said: “I Googled, I asked everyone I knew… for 12 months I pondered this idea. I played through the day in my mind 1,000 times. I thought of all the moments where I could potentially rob Steph of having a real moment.”
James worked along with Lemon Tree Film House. They make one-of-a-kind wedding videos. When they were finished, Stephanie would be able to enjoy a multi-sensory experience.
Science has shown us that the sense of smell triggers memories. That is because smells are processed in the olfactory bulbs, which are connected to the emotional and memory centers of the brain.
Since the connections exist, it is easy to trigger memories using the sense of smell. James wanted to use it to his advantage.
10 fabrics infused with essential oils were used for the experience.
On the wedding day, Stephanie would get one of the fabrics. It allowed her to associate one of the scents with a particular moment.
“Unbelievably, later that night, Linda [Stephanie’s mom] was actually smelling and touching those fabrics and could already recall every single scent and the moment it correlated to,” he gushed.
When the photos were printed, he made certain parts of the picture stand out.
They became ‘tactile photos’, allowing Steph to ‘see’ the pictures in a similar way to how someone reads braille.
“Inlaid in the album were the 10 pieces of fabrics which had been handed to them on their wedding day, along with 10 crystal bottles containing the corresponding essential oils, James’ photos that matched that scene and audio snippets we captured during those moments of the day too, so that they were literally transported back to their day in every way possible,’ Lemon Tree Film House told said.
“Needless to say, they were absolutely overcome with emotion.”
Not long after the wedding was over, the family saw an emotional screening of the wedding video.
I don’t want to give any spoilers. Let’s just say you will need your tissues.