Sara Bostwick had no qualms with vowing to accept her husband for better or worse. Her wedding photos were a different story.
The New York newlywed recently lodged a lawsuit against a photographer
whom she claims took revealing pictures of her on her wedding day, then posted them online. Bostwick says she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from the exposure, detected when her husband spotted the shots on the studio Web site two months after their wedding.
The photographer being sued is Carolyn Monastra, who works for Christian Oth Inc.
, rated one of the top 10 wedding studios in the world by American Photo magazine. (The studio also appeared in the movie "Bride Wars.") Bostwick alleges Monastra took photos of her in her underwear even after she told her to stop
You could argue that if Bostwick had really wanted Monastra to lower her lens, she would have had her removed from her dressing room. But any bride will tell you that a wedding day is chaotic, and Bostwick was probably distracted. Still, no matter what Bostwick told Monastra, the written documents may matter more in court.
Dennis DiPasquale, a New Jersey wedding photographer, says it's a dicey situation. While he agrees Monastra should have stopped snapping when Bostwick told her to, the use of the photos on the studio Web site present a different problem.
"There is usually something in the contract between the photographer and the client stating information about using pictures for promotional purposes, either on the Web site or in ads," he said. If you don't want that, "you look on the contract and scratch out the part where you can do that. Put a line in it. Initial it ... It gets kind of tricky if it's not on there. Is it implied? That's something more for a lawyer than a photographer to decide."
A spokeswoman from Christian Oth got in touch last night with this statement about the lawsuit:
"We are surprised and disappointed to learn that Mrs. Bostwick has filed a lawsuit against us in which she claims that we intentionally violated her privacy. We have never posted any images of Mrs. Bostwick on our public website or in any other public venue. Client images, such as Mrs. Bostwick's, are posted on our proofing website and are always password protected... We believe that the substance of the allegations contained in Mrs. Bostwick's complaint are completely without merit, we emphatically deny those allegations, and we look forward to having this case dismissed."
Meg U., who got married in Philadelphia in July, not only did not let her photographer take pictures of her getting dressed, she also bought the copyrights to the images so they could not be used on the studio's Web site.
"The photographer has the copyrights unless you buy them from him, in which case he can do what he wants with them," she said.
Brooke R., who is getting married in New Jersey next year, says it's Bostwick's fault "if she allowed it and signed a waiver to advertise with the session photos.
"If the photographer excluded that in the contract, it's against the law to publish, and I wouldn't be happy either. I think personally, I would only allow the picture-taking once the dress is covering me -- maybe Mom zipping me up, but nothing more revealing than that!"
As for Bostwick's claim that the photos caused PSTD, Wexford, Penn., psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo
, PhD, MS, PT, says that's probably not accurate.
"PTSD is a highly specific diagnosis that entails being exposed to a life-threatening or at least seriously physically threatening event ... More likely than not, this event caused shock, embarrassment and anger, all of which makes sense, but do not fall under the category of PTSD."
Is it the bride's fault for letting in or not removing Monastra from the dressing room, or is it the photographer's for not stopping when told?
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