Tel Aviv area photographer Arik Siman-tov had been planning a splash for a while, a photo so "extreme," nobody would forget it. Then, he says, he was contacted by a bride who was looking "to do something that hadn't been done before." It was a match - as they say - made in heaven.
"We wanted to do something extreme. We had a bride who wanted to do something that hadn't been done before. I explained to her that these things are more dangerous. She said, no problem. She liked the idea. She asked - how dangerous is it?," Siman-tov tells TheBlaze.
The idea: to light the dress on her back on fire which she would then extinguish by running into the Mediterranean Sea.
Photo courtesy of White Studio Photography
Siman-tov was inspired by a photo he'd seen by John Michael Cooper, in which a bride stands with her arms spread wide as large flames engulf the back of her dress. Though that photo was created by computer manipulation, Simantov says, he asked, could he do it for real?
Yes, he could and he posted the results of the photo shoot of newlywed Natasha Samuel on Facebook page of his shop White Studio Photography. She married Daniel Yakcobi in May. In the video, Siman-tov is seen lighting the back of the dress, and yells to the bride to quickly run into the sea to put out the big flame.
The image is dramatic. Though it looks like her entire back is on fire, the flame never actually touched her back, according to Siman-tov. But it did get frighteningly close.
TheBlaze contacted Siman-tov in Israel to ask him about his fiery project. For starters, he explained how safety was of paramount concern.
"I checked with firemen I know. I checked all types of fabric," Siman-tov said. He and his assistants looked for a fabric that is both fire resistant and would hold a flame momentarily. The bride then had her dress made according to the specifications Siman-tov believed would create the safest experience, considering they were about to pour gas on the bottom of the dress and light it - while she was wearing it.
"We brought two fire extinguishers and for the worst case scenario we brought a water gel blanket, so that if someone got burned we could quickly put it on them. Just in case it didn't go as we planned," he says.
He explains that he tried the trick first on a doll. "We saw it worked OK. We did lots of homework before we did it for real."
After he lit only the dress's train, "She ran straight to the sea...I told her to run into the sea."
"She didn't feel hot even, it was one second. The flame wasn't on her. I didn't pour gasoline on her. We poured gasoline on the bottom of the dress only," he says.
Though she wasn't wearing any protective layers underneath, the dress was made of several layers of a fabric that doesn't inflame quickly and doesn't melt.
Siman-tov says that brides come to him all the time asking for even more unique poses. "It's gotten a bit crazy," he tells TheBlaze. "You can't keep reinventing the wheel each time."
"We have new ideas that we want to do, but we have to investigate them well," he says.
Siman-tov has been surprised by the reactions and that his photos have been published outside of Israel. Though the photo shoot was in May, he sat on the dramatic video for more than a month and only a few days ago bothered posting it on his Facebook page.
The Daily Mail reports that Siman-tov's shoot is just one example of the wider trend called "Trash The Dress." It explains:
The bizarre Trash The Dress ritual has rapidly gained fans around the world as women arrange for photographers to capture their wedding gowns being self-destroyed in order to create wall art.
The aim is to create a powerful image that contrasts the ethereal beauty of a wedding gown with ordinary, and sometimes nightmare, scenarios that would obviously leave the garment soiled.
The results, which are dramatic to say the least, often resemble the type of photographs seen in glossy fashion magazines.
Popular photo shoot locations have included everything from the beach to garbage dumps, abandoned buildings and city streets.
Siman-tov warns others not to try it on their own. "There is a danger, we are aware of it." That said, he adds, "The most beautiful things are dangerous."
Here is the video of the photo shoot: