On May 25th, 2019 James George and I got married! Like everyone planning a wedding, we wanted it to be moving and to leave a lasting impression. So we developed a new ritual that turns guests into artists, and transforms a fleeting moment into an interactive art object that will last forever. We call this ritual the Collaborative Hologram. The outcome is a stunning 3D, interactive image. The moment of creation was as memorable and meaningful as the final product itself. As our guests were making the hologram it really felt like we shad created a new ritual; a sequence of acts, sacred and meaningful, commemorating a momentous event.
We are sharing the process here in hopes that it will inspire you to adopt the Collaborative Hologram as a ritual for your wedding or next event.
James and I have always bonded while making art projects together. We are both creators and entrepreneurs. We both run companies that support artists. (James cofounded Scatter and I cofounded KitSplit) In fact, we started our relationship with a cross-country road trip where we created a photography series about the brain and perception. We sparked our romance by connecting through creativity, so it seemed only natural to initiate married life with an art project as well.
The Debate: Photos at the Ceremony?
Since the 1880’s professional photography has been an important part of the wedding experience. Now with the rise of smartphones, there are more and more hilarious stories of guests ruining the moment in the effort to get the perfect shot. Ginger, James’ sister and our officiant, encouraged us to ask our guests not to take photos during the ceremony so we could all focus on being present in the moment.
We liked the idea of avoiding distraction of over excited guest photographers. But taking photos is such a meaningful way for guests to participate in the event. So we didn’t want to cut it out entirely. Instead, we wondered if we could invent a new ritual inviting guests to take photographs intentionally and at a specific moment during the ceremony.
The idea hit us: let’s have them all take photos together at the same time and use photogrammetry to turn the moment into a hologram!
The Process: Making a Collaborative Hologram with Phones
After we said our vows and kissed, we walked down the aisle to a big open space. Here is how the ritual unfolded:
- We included instructions in our wedding program so the guests were well prepared and knew their roles. The wedding planner and wedding party were also clued in, which helped organize everyone.
- The guests all gathered around us in a big circle.
- James and I stood absolutely still and on the count of three, all the guests took a single photograph with their phones. The stillness and simultaneity was essential for a crisp image because the photos need to all be of the same exact scene at the same moment, but from different angles to be processed into one hologram.
- We asked them to immediately email the photos to us. Immediacy was necessary because we didn’t want them to forget which photo to send.
- Once we had all the photos, after the wedding, we used the photogrammetry software Metashape to reconstruct a true-to-life scale 3D scan of the moment. Here’s a helpful guide on getting started with photogrammetry and Metashape.
The Experience: A Sacred, Shared Moment
We had to stand very still so everyone could take the exact same image. The stillness was reminiscent of early-era photography when large format cameras needed long exposures to capture enough light to get the details. It also gave us a valuable moment of reflection amidst all the excitement.
I’ll never forget looking around that circle at the smiling faces of all those wonderful people. Our dearest friends and family, some who had come from around the world, all gathered around us in a big circle of love and support. In this digital, virtual age, it was an extraordinary moment to have everyone physically there creating art with us.
There was also a second moment that was kind of hilarious and very emblematic of the age we live in. Directly after taking the photo, all of the guests instantly turned away from us hunching over their phones to email the photo. We used it as an opportunity to get another celebratory kiss in ;)
The Ritual: Poetic Witnessing
We like to think of that moment as the moment we really got married. Weddings are about witnessing a promise and a union. The hologram is a poetic visualization of that witnessing. Each of our guests’ perspectives contributed to the final result as a symbol of our love. Encircled by our friends and family, we all engaged in a new inclusive ritual to mark the start of a relationship and creating a shared memory.
The Result: A Captured Moment
The result of the ritual is a beautiful and evocative holographic capture of us and our guests that we can relive forever in lifelike 3D. We’ve already loaded it into VR and stood right next to ourselves and our guests. Now in the years to come, we’ll be able to enter the hologram, and relive the ritual as if transported back to the moment itself.
Thanks to everyone who participated. We hope others are inspired to adopt this ritual, and invent new rituals of their own!
With love, Lisbeth and James ❤