Society Wedding, 1914

Society Wedding, 1914
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This rare example of amateur or home movie footage provides a glimpse of a society wedding about 1914, probably in an eastern suburb of Sydney.

Prior to the invention of 16mm film in 1923, amateur and home movie making was an expensive hobby and confined to a small sector of Australian society. Surviving footage from home movies filmed on 35mm nitrate film at this time is rarer still.

The 35mm format was usually reserved for professional filmmakers, suggesting that the camera operator for this film may have had a formal connection to the nascent film industry in Australia. This would also explain the relatively sophisticated filming technique.

It was carefully filmed in a series of shots, each deliberately framed. The shot from inside the bridal car of the couple walking out of the church was clearly planned to be edited with the next shot – a reverse from outside the car looking in at the bride.

Each shot is formally framed – the opening is composed so that two brick pillars on either side of the path leading into the church frame the guests. This symmetry is repeated in the shot filmed from inside the car, with its door forming a dark frame-within-the-frame as the married couple walk towards the camera and step into the car.