They Said Yes…

A project in cooperation with the PhotoART Centrum in Košice 


More information

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From time immemorial, ceremonies associated with the formal establishment of a couple have been among the most important events in any human society.  Such ceremonies always involved specific rituals and customs, which were often considered to have magic functions and which, like other cultural traits specific to a given community, served to set the community apart from others.  These customs have been evolving for centuries, and traces of some ancient rituals persist in our wedding traditions to this day. From a personal perspective, even today the wedding day is one of the most important in a person’s life, and the large amount of preparation that goes into it speaks to its importance. The establishment of a couple, and the couple’s potential to create a new person, will remain forever a miraculous moment, with unbelievable, even incomprehensible content.

Times change, and wedding customs continually develop. In the present day the pressure to change wedding traditions is probably greater than in the past. What remains (though not without exception) is the attempt to raise one’s social status, as manifested in the great cost of weddings, which are not only among the most important days in one’s life, but also among the most expensive.

The project They Said Yes was born out of my fascination with the phenomenon of weddings, and also out of my fascination with images and their ability to tell us something more about ourselves that we are able to see with the ordinary gaze. The goal of this project is to offer viewers a specific look at wedding customs and the behavior of people in Central Europe (Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia) at the beginning of the twenty-first century, and also to introduce them to a way in which contemporary photography attempts to capture the significance and weight of the wedding day with respect to the future. In spite of our attempt to include the broadest possible range of photographic tendencies and styles, our dominant approach is documentary. The irony that seems to be implied by this approach is only apparent - such is the world today…

Special thanks: Zuzsa Bakonyi, Adrian Wykrota, David Mužík, Anton Baša, Karol Stollmann, Imko Weber, Juraj Gembický, Petr Smejkal, Lucia Petrujová...
Project author, curator, editor: Pavel Maria Smejkal
Collaboration: Zsuzsa Bakonyi

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Project partners:
Hungary - Európai Kulturális Alapítvány, Budapest, Zsuzsa Bakonyi
Czech Republic - YAFA (Yound and Fresh Association), Liberec, Brno, David Mužík
Poland - ZPAF (Zwiozek polskich artystów fotografików okreg wielkopolski),
Poznan, Adrian Wykrota and pixHouse

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Project participants:

Katarína Bako,
Brano Štepánek,
Dávid Doroš,
Anton Baša,
Peter Korček,
Jarolím Žáček,
Alena Rennerová,
Karol Stollmann,
Michaela Demočková,
Lena Jakubčáková , Jožo Ondzik, Marek Novák
Peter Burda,
Martin Beličák,

Zsuzsa Bakonyi,
Attila Mitcsenkov, Eszter Mitcsenkov-Horváth, and
Júlia Pallai-Gölner - Képfényező Fotográfia,
Boglárka Zellei,
Eva Szombat,
Gábor Molnár,
Tamás Szipli,
Varga Csaba,
Új Generációs Esküvői Fotográfus Képzés -
Zsuzsi Flohr,

Czech Republic:
David Mužík
Michal Matoušek
Tomáš Pospěch,
Petr Smejkal
Martin Kašpar,
Zdeněk Zatloukal,
Jan Klimeš,
Sekerková Lucia,
Šimon Pikous,

Adrian Wykrota,
Ula Tarasiewicz 
and others

Project supported by Visegrad Fund

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© Európai Kulturális Alapítvány, Budapest 2023