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'Trash the dress' trend leads to controversial shot with flames

Published: Monday, July 22 2013 11:40 a.m. MDT

Photographer Eric Simantov's trash the dress shoot with real flames has people question if the trend has gone too far.

Eric Simantov, White Studio, Screenshot from Pinterest

Wedding photography typically includes engagements, bridals, the ceremony and reception, but a growing trend called “trash the dress” adds one more photo session to the package.

Trash the dress is when a bride takes pictures in her wedding gown — after the big day — in environments that contrast with the dress and make it appear out of place. Although brides can trash their dress to different degrees, common shoots include mud, horses, paint and water scenes. Las Vegas wedding photographer John Michael Cooper is credited with starting the fad in 2001.

"They'll definitely get into mud puddles or in the rain; they'll drop in pools or get sandy at the beach," Jackie Fernandez, a wedding planner told ABC News.

Recently, photographer Eric Simantov staged a trash the dress shoot that involved setting the bride’s dress on fire before she extinguished the flames in the ocean.

“All brides are looking for something that hasn’t been done before,” Simantov told ABC News. “It was my idea to use real fire, not Photoshop.”

The bride was not injured in the fire shot, but many photographers say using real flames was taking the idea too far.

“I just know from the look of it, it looked a little on the dangerous side,” Cooper said on ABC News. Cooper has also taken trash the dress shots that involve fire, but he Photoshopped the flames to ensure the bride’s safety.

The concerns about safety are not without reason. Last August, a Canadian newlywed drowned during her trash the dress photo shoot when her dress become too heavy and pulled her down the river.

But the trend, which is also called “rock the frock” or “fearless bride,” remains popular with many brides, who look forward to a photo shoot that expresses their personality.

Abby Stevens is a writer for the DeseretNews.com Faith and Family sections. She is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University–Idaho. Contact Abby at astevens@deseretdigital.com.

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