The Manifesto – a final note

It’s been a frustrating week in many ways. What I wrote was more than anything meant as a positive piece. Celebrate love, don’t worry about what others think and don’t get sidetracked by the blogs and magazines. It doesn’t matter if you have mason jars, spaceships or no decorations at all, at the end of the night you will still have married your best friend. Go all out – or don’t go out at all – but don’t worry, it. will. all. be. fine.

Of course I didn’t write it exactly like that. I wrote it in one go at 5am in the morning, posted it and had to leave for another wedding the same day. I couldn’t clarify my initial intention behind writing it. And when I got back four days later it seemed silly explaining everything in detail.

I do think the excessive focus on details in wedding media is creating something unhealthy. I have clients who worry their wedding isn’t cool enough for me to shoot. Some get details they don’t care about “so that I will have enough things to shoot”.

I think that’s screwed up.

I understand that the planning process is a beautiful one for many couples. I love details and will most likely go detail crazy when I get married. But there are also a lot of people who feel overwhelmed and I was simply trying to tell them not to worry.

Moving on.

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  1. Please don’t back off or second guess or apologize or explain.

    What you said was more than right.

    It was brilliant.

    It was profound.

    It needs to be said over and over again by as many people as possible.

    Thank you.

  2. I think what you wrote was beautiful and 100% true. I have met few brides who can actually enjoy their season of engagement because they are so worried about having the “perfect details” at their wedding. It would be so encouraging to see more love stories out there, not just pictures – it’s the story that truly lasts forever.

  3. Jonas you are an amazing photographer I just love your images I would like to talk to you when we go to launch our new wedding website.
    But I am here to address the above comment yes I agree about all the media hype. A wedding is a very personal thing and too many people are wading in on the bride and grooms personal space and giving there opinion when it has never been called for in the first place.
    Leave it be if they want to spend and annual salary getting hitched in their style then so be it as the stats show that most couples have been planning and saving for years anyway so who is being hurt here. Lokks like a win win to me!

  4. Jonas,
    I think you are a wonderful photographer, I agree that the obsession with details have become unhealthy. That being said, I feel as though sometimes you come off as cocky ” not cool enough for me to shoot” . I think I know what you meant but I am not sure others have.

  5. Thank you for all of this. Sometimes the internet isn’t a friendly place, and I can only imagine the stress brought on by your manifestos. But know it is appreciated (and you are supported by many!). I’ve been trying to find the way to say it for a while now and you’ve helped me put the words together: Put the marriage before the wedding.

  6. I totally agree with you G.E. Mansana. Here’s to more stories – romance and connectivity is where it all began. That’s why we still worship Shakespeare and Keates et al.

  7. You were still correct.

    They’re detailed crazy. Because that’s how they get readers. And that’s what permits them to charge revenues from advertisers. It’s business.

    One day, maybe, they’ll realize that readers can also be attracted through the telling of romance stories. You know, like they’ve been doing with little things for longer than bloggers have been around. Like literature. Movies. Some day.

  8. Not sure how I found your blog, but I just wanted to say that your writing is excellent, and I will be signing up to read more. I too work in the wedding industry (stationery), and love details, but you are very right in saying they are not the be-all and end-all of what the day is about. Thanks for the much-needed reminder :)

  9. For fuck sakes. You were perfectly clear in your original post. Like on every internet site, there are those with less-than-healthy reading comprehension and its unfortunate you have to keep explaining yourself.

    Even if you wrote something like “let there be peace on Earth” you would get a certain amount of hate-mail. You just can’t satisfy everyone all the time.

  10. Dude,
    This has been interesting to read to say the least… What you initially intended seemed pretty clear to me- and I agreed with it. Although given the reaction, this apparently is a subject that more people really need to spend some deep though on…
    It’s about priorities. Weddings are celebrations, which include all kinds of attention to detail, “fun” stuff, etc. You’re not disputing that. You like it. You encourage it. Rad. Me too. However, I think the point you were making is that the GREATER MEANING of a wedding extends far beyond how cool of mason jars one has. For me personally as a follower of Jesus Christ, it’s a completion. A challenge, a joy, a struggle, synergy, legitimacy, test of commitment, etc. (These things are present even without the Christ part) Our flowers died a week after our wedding, I pooped the wedding food the next day, the “deets” have all been sold. But Sarah’s and my love and commitment to ourselves and Christ WILL REMAIN. Lord willing, for 50-60 years. But where are the wedding blogs that highlight, and whose *sole purpose* is to tell, love stories? To celebrate that “greater meaning”? Details are great and have their place, but an over-obsession with the details *can* sometimes cause people to miss the forest for the trees…

  11. Sad to see all the hatred directed your way from the comments on OffBeat Bride. Just goes to show how superficial people are. They didn’t even understand the points of the manifesto(s). Instead of bashing mason jars, you were just saying to focus on the people and emotion. As they continue to bitch, they only make themselves look stupid. Don’t let it get you rattled. You do great and everyone knows it.

  12. It’s funny, besides it would have been to expensive for us to fly you in for our wedding in Germany I also thought we are not cool and vintage enough for you. Funny because we don’t seem to be alone with this thought.. Anyway it is so true that there shouldn’t be too much focus on the details. We just got married two weeks ago and it was a perfect day and a perfect party and the only stress factor were seconds of me (the bride) being hysteric about unimportant detail things nobody notices anyway.. But fortunately I was able not to focus too much on these things… Hugs and kisses from our honeymoon on the Florida Keys

  13. I love that this has started such heated discussions on so many different sites and blogs. And I’ve really enjoyed reading some of the big blogs respond (especially SMP, which surprised me) but I do think it’s a shame that some of the responses seemed to go in fighting the second they read the words “mason jar” – I think they really passed by a prime opportunity to open an important dialogue.

  14. When I first read your manifesto all I could think was: this is so true! I was so happy that a well established photographer was pointing out these things. No reason for explaining. If people don’t get it, that’s their problem.

    Good luck to you!

  15. Jonas, I thought what you had to say about the importance of relationships over things was very timely. I have heard similar thoughts from dozens of photographers this year. When passionate comments are made online they often erupt into controversy, and controversy is a good thing as long as people show respect for one another. On another note – your photos rock sans the details.

  16. No disrespect but who cares? To each his own. Art is art. One man’s opinion…do your own thing.

  17. I wholeheartedly agree with you. Simplicity is beautiful.

    I find it weird that people hire you and then worry that you might find it to be not good enough.
    The photogs job is to find beauty in everything, not get it thrown in their face!

  18. This is tedious now. I’m not gonna tell you that I think you’re right or wrong, you don’t need to justify your opinion to me or anyone else. The picture underneath now that’s what I’m interested in, I’m gonna go look at that.

  19. Hear hear Jonas.

    There is a shift happening, in a few of the “top” photographers. Next year there will be a slight change of attitude. I can feel it.

    Keep shooting as you do.

    CC xo

  20. Sitting on a pendeltåg (Swedish for commuter train) reading about this mason jar thing is quite entertaining. The thing that made me surprised is the way you expect someone to have you clarifying your initial post before blogging about it. To me that is kind of weird…

  21. Don’t worry about the negative closed minded people. A lot of them will never see reason and that’s their own sad fault. They can moan and vomit about things all they want until they’re cranky twisted old fools. Good for them. Have a sweet life. BUT, a lot of us not only see your point, but we live it every day. It’s nice to get a reminder every now and then though, so thanks for not being afraid to say it how it is :)

  22. Kudos to you Jonas!!! I am too most turned on by the look, the laugh, touch, romance, celebration and the action on the dance floor…

  23. I’m with Shannon and Hannah S. – CRYSTAL clear. As someone who felt somewhat pressured by all the beautiful wedding blogs around, and who ended up with a wedding I would change alot about if I could have a do-over, I’m happy to say that it doesn’t matter that I don’t think my wedding was perfect for us, or that we compromised on stuff to keep others happy (or that really I wanted to just elope to keep an incredibly private sharing of souls to ourselves)- I still married my best friend. None of all the other ‘stuff’ matters at all. :)

  24. I agree with Shannon. I thought your original point was crystal clear and completely in line with this final note. It’s just the law of the internet (or anywhere, really), that any point made will be met with a million counter-points. Even if those counter-points don’t really understand or overlook the intentions of the original point. That’s just the way it goes. I think it was obvious that you weren’t specifically bashing details but that at the root of it, you were just advocating for more people to do what they want to do. People tend to skim over what they read, pick up on target words like “mason jar” and start preparing their defense in their heads before even finishing reading the post or taking a step back to understand the meaning and intentions behind the words.

  25. Hey Jonas :) I’ve been following your work for a number of months now and always look forward to seeing each new sample of your beautiful photography. I missed the earlier post so upon reading this one went back to see what started the fuss. (I haven’t read the comments though). I am an aspiring-to-be published historical romance writer, and I think your 4.47am post was perfect. It comes back to the essence of things. People CAN get too caught up in the details. Its the experiences shared that have brought a couple to the point of marriage, and the cool, mutually-supportive stuff ahead that is to be celebrated. Such ain’t found in the color of one’s chair sashes and matching napkins. But then, I’m also a girl who would rather invest in a shared adventure with her fella after he pops the question, than purchase an engagement ring. So just wanted to say – I think what you wrote is FANTASTIC!

    And P.S. When my novel(s) sell (hopefully not too far in the distant future!), you’ll can be sure to expect an email from me saying “Please, please, PLEASE Jonas, can you take my author photo for inside the back of the book/website?” . Conveniently, I live in Brisbane ;-) All the best, Joanne.

  26. Details are not the wedding. If you have them, then it makes sense that they are important and meaningful in some way. If you don’t have them, not a big deal. You shoot people at a wedding anyway, right? Or have I been shooting weddings all wrong?

  27. That’s crazy. I always tell them, just be you, be real, and let me tell your story. Photography is meant to tell the truth, rather than some contrived version of it.

  28. I completely agree with you Jonas. It is the bride & groom’s day. That should be cool enough. Why should they worry more? especially the bride? lol. You are just there to keep the memories alive when all else has faded. keep shooting what you love, nothing else should matter. ;)

  29. isn’t that exactly what your 5am ramblings said 8-) quoting the great doctor: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” thanks.

  30. I like what you said in your original post. You’ve made us all think about what’s the most important to each couple (be it people or the details) and that can’t be a bad thing. Personally, your post confirmed my hearts desire to ALWAYS capture the intangible amidst the tangible, so thank you x

  31. I thought it was a great piece. Don’t stress if not everyone understands.

    Your photos are beautiful and inspiring, by the way (feels wrong to leave my first comment after a year or so of reading and not to say that).

  32. I said it on the first post, the second post, and I’ll say it again: Amen.

    Sometimes the best things get said in one breath, at 5am. And anyone who doesn’t see the pure simplicity in what you’re saying is just silly. Love is all it’s really about. It’s why we get married and it’s why we photograph. Thanks, for everything you’ve said.

  33. I’m staring to think that the people getting so overly-worked up about defending details are doing so because that’s all they have.
    They will probably never get your point. Your original post was very clear. At no point did I think you were against Mason jars..I really don’t know why you even have to explain all this over again.

    Silly people.

  34. All I can say is that I am so glad to have you as a fellow photographer! You have done nothing but raise the bar and remind us what it’s all about.


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