James Day is a Sydney-based photographer who has captured more than 600 weddings.
Despite his years of experience, however, James found himself in a sticky situation when he received a call from a young woman named Stephanie.
Stephanie was a young bride who was set to marry her fiancé Rob—but unlike most of James’ clients, Stephanie was blind.
Stephanie suffers from cone-rod dystrophy, a disorder inherited from her mother. As a child, she had spent hours planning the perfect, dream wedding, but now that she’d lost her vision, she’d grown pessimistic about the idea.
“It was since Steph was a little girl. She wanted her fairy-tale wedding. And we were so sad when she said that she didn’t think she could do it,” her mother recalled.
James wanted to go above and beyond to commemorate the moment for his client.
He said: “I Googled, I asked everyone I knew… for 12 months I pondered this idea. I played through the day in my mind 1,000 times. I thought of all the moments where I could potentially rob Steph of having a real moment.”
James then teamed up with Lemon Tree Film House, a company making one-of-a-kind wedding videos.
Together, they worked to create a multi-sensory experience that Stephanie would never forget.
According to science, smells and scents trigger intense memories due to the structure of our brains. The human olfactory bulbs (where smell is processed) is connected to the amygdala (the brain’s emotional center) and the hippocampus (the brain’s memory center).
Because of this connection, smell is one of the easiest ways to trigger emotional memories— and James decided to take advantage of this effect.
The photographer used ten fabrics infused with different essential oils.
During the day, he would present the fabrics to Stephanie, so she’d learn to associate the smell with that particular moment.
“Unbelievably, later that night, Linda [Stephanie’s mom] was actually smelling and touching those fabrics and could already recall every single scent and the moment it correlated to,” he gushed.
When it was time to print the photos, he also used a technique that made certain areas rise.
These ‘tactile photos’ would allow Steph to be able to “see” the pictures in the same way one reads braille.
“Inlaid in the album were the 10 pieces of fabrics which had been handed to them on their wedding day, along with 10 crystal bottles containing the corresponding essential oils, James’ photos that matched that scene and audio snippets we captured during those moments of the day too, so that they were literally transported back to their day in every way possible,’ Lemon Tree Film House told My Modern Met.
“Needless to say, they were absolutely overcome with emotion.”
Shortly after the wedding, the family was invited to an emotional screening of their wedding video produced by Lemon Tree Film House.
I don’t want to reveal too much— but be sure to grab the tissues! Lemon Tree Film House also suggests closing your eyes ‘to experience [the moment] just as audibly as Steph did.”
Watch the emotional moment below!
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