February 04, 2022

The Perfect Imperfect: The Wedding Photographs of John Dolan

By John Dolan’82
Damiani, 2021

Book cover for The Perfect Imperfect: The Wedding Photographs of John Dolan by John Dolan'82. Now considered a pioneer of contemporary wedding photography, John Dolan never set out to shoot nuptials. “I came at weddings from outside the industry, meaning I was not a professional wedding photographer but a photographer at a wedding, which I think was an early advantage,” he writes.

This collection showcases Dolan’s documentary style and talent for capturing intimacy and spontaneity. In a brief forward, Martha Stewart describes his work as “provocative, detailed, important, relevant, and memorable.” His photographs are widely published, including in many editions of Martha Stewart Weddings.

The book is organized into three acts that celebrate the rituals and emotions of weddings: the moments leading up to the wedding, the ceremonies, and the reception and party that ensues. Locations span from Chicago to Rome over a course of nearly three and a half decades.

Dolan attributes his ability to capture intimacy on film to Michael Simon, Beloit College professor emeritus of art and photography, and he is grateful to his mentor, noted New York photographer Sylvia Plachy, who writes a closing to the collection.

Dolan writes, “This book is a collection of these potent slivers of emotion gathered from unscripted, perfectly imperfect moments.”


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