Love | It Trumps All
A couple of years ago, the division and ugliness that seemed to spreading around the world was really getting me down. I would like to say those things have changed in that time, but sadly I cannot.
I was really affected by what seemed like a tidal wave of hate that I was seeing all around me. It was everywhere. Children washing up on the shores of Europe and people not only ignoring it, but actively criticising the attempts of refugees to find a better life. The increase in violence directed towards immigrants after the Brexit vote. Across the pond, shortly after Brexit, Trump won an election to become President of the United States... again with a strong undercurrent of hate rising to the surface. Social media was no better throughout all of this, but even beyond. Criticism of people based upon their skin colour, religion, sexual preference, gender, age... the list goes on and on. It seemed to be literally everywhere and there was no escaping it. The last couple of years have felt, to me at least, like a massive hate fest. Hate was everywhere...
I couldn't understand how someone could hate someone they had never met. How could someone hate someone simply based upon where they were randomly born? How could someone hate someone based upon what higher power they chose to worship? How could someone hate someone based upon who they were attracted to as a romantic partner? How could someone hate someone based upon their gender?
All of these questions niggled at me. I have always been an empathetic person, but this was different. This felt.... bigger... worse.... catastrophic? I felt that I needed to do something.... anything. But, I am just a photographer. What could I possibly do that would make a difference in all of the hate surrounding me?
I could have easily focused on the negatives and created a series of images that highlighted the bigotry and hate that was already a part of our everyday lives. But this would only bring it even more to the forefront and put it in people’s minds even more. What I definitely didn't want to do was create images that the hateful could look at in admiration... that was the exact opposite of what I wanted to do. All that aside, focusing on the negative seemed like the cliche, easy way out.
Instead I decided to focus on the good...the happy....the positive...the LOVE. Even though I was feeling beaten down by all of the hate in the world, I remembered just how far we truly have come. Not very long ago, inter-racial couples would have been in danger walking down the street together. Today, it is much more accepted. Is there still a danger? Definitely. Are there still people that think they are wrong? Definitely. But, all in all we have come a long way and Love truly does trump all.
So that's what I decided to focus on... Love. I set out finding inter-racial, inter-religion, and same sex couples that I could find and document their love. I wanted all of these portraits to be simple, and I wanted them all to be reasonably the same. I could have set up a studio and made them all exactly the same. But, a couple's home often times is a reflection of them so I decided to set them there. Each couple was photographed in their home and on their sofa. I didn't move things around and didn't interfere with their environment. Instead I simply asked them to sit on the sofa and hold hands. That was it. I wanted to let the photo’s simplicity do the talking.
I hope these little snapshots of Love in some of it’s varying and wonderful forms brings a little light and positivity to your day.