Katrina Thomas Ethnic Wedding Photographs

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Katrina Thomas (1927-2018) was a graduate of Bryn Mawr College class of 1949. After graduating, Thomas had a long career as a freelance photographer. She worked extensively in Africa and the Middle East, and her photographs have appeared in Time, Newsweek, Aramco World, and publications of the U.S. Information Agency. Thomas began photographing ethnic festivals and parades in the late 1960s as a way of documenting the increasingly diverse nature of American society. Within a few years, she focused on weddings, in which she could see the importance of cultural traditions to a community more clearly than in the often-scripted and commercialized festivals. Capturing the weddings on film highlighted a community’s religious and cultural traditions while revealing how those traditions were changing in a new world. Her ethnic wedding photographs were featured in Something Old, Something New: Ethnic Weddings in America, a traveling exhibit cosponsored by Modern Bride and the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies in Philadelphia in the 1980s. This collection includes 800 photographs captured by Thomas between 1963 and 2001, documenting the ways in which immigrant groups maintain and adapt wedding practices in the United States. While the greatest number took place in recent immigrant families, there are also many in older immigrant communities. Thomas sought out weddings where the family had decided to maintain or revive their group’s ceremonial traditions, although often enacting them within a contemporary context.

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800 items [showing 1 - 20]


Carpatho-Rusyn Wedding, Parma, OH, 1985
Akan Wedding (Ghana), Brooklyn, NY, 1999
Carpatho-Rusyn Wedding, Monassen, PA, 1984
American Kalmyk-Mongolian Buddhist Wedding, Washington,     NJ, 1983
Jewish Wedding (Lubavitch Hasidic), Crown Heights, NY,     1984
Albanian (Catholic) Wedding, Bronx, NY, 1986
Polish Gorale (Highlander) Wedding, Chicago, IL,     1990
Pakistani Wedding, New York, NY, 1985
Pakistani Wedding, New York, NY, 1985
Anglo-American Wedding, Fishers I., NY, 1963
Mien Wedding, Sacramento, CA, 1989
Akan Wedding (Ghana), Long Island City, NY, 1974
Cambodian Wedding, Brooklyn, NY, 1984
Swedish Wedding, Huntington, NY, 1977
Palestinian (Arab-Muslim) Wedding, Dearborn, MI,     1990
Mien Wedding, Redding, CA, 1992
Ukrainian Wedding, Kerhonksen, NY, 1975
Persian Wedding, Moraga, CA, 1988
Regional Wedding (Pennsylvania), Barnesboro, PA,     1991
Tibetan Wedding, Westminster, CA, 2001