‘Photo Therapy: The Bride’ is one of Jo’s most iconic series of works. It was developed over a Photo Therapy session on powerlessness that she did with Rosy Martin. In it, she interrogated the history of marriage, whether it be arranged or otherwise, and the idea of the woman as something to be passed or sold on with her requisite dowry.
Jo was a high street photographer for seven years and photographing weddings was a key source of her income. She often played off her early career, staging herself in front of photographic backgrounds as she does in this image. Rather than showing the happy, elated face of the bride-to-be, Spence shows herself pained, with her hand over her eyes in a representation of fatigue or as if she’s trying to hide herself from the upcoming nuptial event.
Despite this, Jo did marry. She married twice: once to Keith Holland and then to David Roberts in May 1992. Sadly, her marriage to David lasted only about six weeks before she passed away in a hospice from leukaemia.
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