A Letter From the Publisher: Jul. 7, 1986

Crucial to any wedding is the photographer who commemorates the moment, but the poor person's own face rarely shows up in a newlywed's album. When TIME . decided to do a story on the resurgence of the traditional formal wedding, Photographer Neil Leifer came up with a way to redress that injustice.

Leifer has shot 27 covers for TIME on subjects ranging from prison life to America's love for cats. Most recently he photographed the heroic proportions of the U.S. aircraft carrier Carl Vinson by suspending a remote camera from the bow of the ship. Formal weddings are tame by those...

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