Nela Milic | Wedding Bellas

These photographs present the stories of twelve women. Many were rejected by their partners, landlords, employers, or they have been denied recognition by the state. Coinciding with International Refugee Week (19th – 25th June) these images of brides hugging street objects provide a neighbourhood spectacle and encourage debate about the impact of borders on human relationships, and the social changes occurring in the areas we inhabit.

“I encountered this group of women in 2007. I wanted to capture them through photography, but their dramatic life stories needed to be reflected differently than in documentary reportage and media where they are usually portrayed as victims – battered, bruised or crying, surrounded by poverty and children.

The project took place at and around the Migrants Resource Centre (MRC) and my home. The women are from various countries – Iran, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Ukraine, Iraq, Ethiopia, Bosnia, Turkey, Eritrea, Rwanda, Kurdistan, Lebanon and the UK… They were posing as if on a fashion shoot, providing a touch of glamour rather than the dreary everyday troubles they have to encounter – queuing for food vouchers, immigration control, bad press…

Wedding dresses are surrounded by other wedding iconography, but the images are not a joke – through them is presented an event of desperation, photographed as if it were a true wedding ceremony. The paradox of this loss of reality due to pressure of life circumstances questions the situation these women are in – is it real or is it imaginary – a concept shared by the audience and by the person in the picture.”

Dr. Nela Milic is a Senior Lecturer at Design School, London College of Communication, UAL.
For more information about the exhibition, please email

Exhibition Date: 2nd June – 30th June