With a wedding impending, the Taiwanese bride-to-be turns to photographers, make-up artists, and hair stylists who, using the tricks of commercial photography, create an image of her that--with fairer skin, eyes like a "Western doll," and gowns inspired by sources from Victorian England to MTV--transforms her beyond recognition.
An absorbing consideration of contemporary bridal practices in Taiwan, Framing the Bride shows how the lavish photographs represent more than mere conspicuous consumption. They are artifacts infused with cultural meaning and emotional significance, products of the gender- and generation-based conflicts in Taiwan's hybrid system of modern matrimony. From the wedding photographs, the book opens out into broader issues such as courtship, marriage, kinship, globalization, and the meaning of the "West" and "Western" cultural images of beauty. Bonnie Adrian argues that in compiling enormous bridal albums full of photographs of brides and grooms in varieties of finery, posed in different places exuding romance, Taiwanese brides engage in a new rite of passage--one that challenges the terms of marriage set out in conventional wedding rites.