Okay, so here goes it. My favorite pastime is probably inserting myself into my friends’ relationships. I will happily tag along to anything, anywhere, any time. Because of this, I get to walk deeply with the people that mean the most to me, which I love. (I’m also highly protective of my friends and need to know that they are taken care of.)
One of the things that I have learned through this process is that even though each relationship is unique in its origin or context, they are all the same. As a third party member to everyone’s relationships, I get to see first hand how they care for and love each other, nurture and grow, laugh and cry. And for those that are raising kids, I get to watch them parent and love on their family deeply. It’s all pretty selfish because I get to soak it all up and just sit and learn.
I think that’s why I love being a photographer; because I get to be a third party member to every family, couple, friend, etc. and as I learn, my hope is that I encourage them in the process.
Back in February I challenged myself to post a photo of people in love everyday until Valentine’s Day. It was so fun for me because not only did I get to look back on some images I had forgotten about, but I was able to reach out to these people that I love and ask them questions and learn more about their relationships.
One of the main things I learned was that we, as humans, just want to be loved and spurred on. We want to be seen and tended to, protected, held, acknowledged, known. We all long for a companion and ally that is fully on our team. I have seen friends walk through storms together, and they always come out thankful they had their pillar right next to them. I talked to couples who have been together for years, ones that are newly married, raising kids, or just enjoying each other, and they all spoke about how cool it is to see their partner still portraying the same characteristics they fell in love with, even more than they could have imagined or planned. When we are vulnerable enough to let others into our hearts, we open ourselves up to trust them and grow with them. I am so encouraged by the real life, everyday love I get to see––the ordinary, the mundane, the joyous moments and the days of grief. It is because of these people (and so many more) that I see the goodness of love, the strength and patience it takes, the reality that isn’t always pretty but is where the real love starts. May we all seek that kind of love. May we always give that same love no matter the situation or relationship. Embrace the goodness, kindness, humility, vulnerability, and joy that comes with being a human who cares for others. So for those in love or searching for it - here’s to you.