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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Yoruba (Nigeria) Wedding, St Albans, NY, 1989
Pakistani Wedding, New York, NY, 1985
Greek Wedding, New York, NY, 1974
Sikh Wedding, Yuba City, CA, 1987
Anglo-American Wedding, New York, NY, 1977
Jewish Wedding (Orthodox), New York, NY, 1997
Korean Wedding, Queens, NY, 1990
Packaged Wedding, Las Vegas, NV, 1991
Lithuanian Wedding, Horsham, PA, 1985
Regional Wedding (Pennsylvania), Barnesboro, PA,     1991
Palestinian (Arab-Muslim), Brooklyn, NY, 1985
Hmong Wedding, Fresno, CA, 1989
Sikh Wedding, Fremont, CA, 1987
Mien Wedding, Redding, CA, 1992
Tibetan Wedding, Westminster, CA, 2001
Zoroastrian Parsi Wedding, New Rochelle, NY,     1985
Kalmyk Wedding, Philadephia, PA, 1979
Chinese Wedding, New York, NY, 1984
Mien Wedding, Redding, CA, 1992
Packaged Wedding, Gatlinburg, TN, 1991

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