Here’s a project that I’ve worked on every once in awhile in the past.
True art is always more about the artist than the subject and at different times in my life have felt both alone and disconnected in different types of relationships.
Usually, in my professional career I take portraits of couples very much in love and all of my photos are trying to show intimacy, connection and love.
I love doing this, but when I think about more artistic photos, ideas and concepts that I want to explore: I want to head the other direction.
I’ve seen this play out in my own relationships. Some days, I’d wake up and one conversation or one word or one thought would terrify me into spiraling downward more and more into myself. I’d wonder if what I wanted would mesh with what she wanted and whether our values would ever meet.
Every difference between us would feel like an ocean and as my fear of our differences would grow, so would the actual emotional distance until we wouldn’t talk about important things and we had to search for safe conversations.
Hard times, when you don’t even feel like you know the person sitting across from you, and you have all sorts of ideas, plans and moments that put more and more distance between you and that other person.
And then the breakup happens.
There is just such an incredible permanent tearing apart of two people.
One day you spend all your waking moments with them and you live 90 percent of your life together and the next day you’re alone. You can’t call them, text with them or be around them.
It almost feels nearly impossible that a relationship could change that drastically. Very rarely does any other relationship change so fast. Usually there is a slow evolution and if it’s dying then it dies slowly like the mal-evolution of an animal that wasn’t meant to survive.
I once heard a quote that said breakups are hard, because for the people in the breakup, the world just ended, but no one else even seemed to notice.
As I wrestled with all of these tough days, I really wanted to start taking photos of couples that showed the hard times. We so rarely showcase the hard times. No one hangs up pictures on the day their home burned down or they broke their ankle on a some ice. Instead they only show themselves smiling and hugging someone in front of a camera.
As a photographer myself, I know this can be misleading.
I have a love and hate relationship with Facebook for this very reason. In my own life, there has been so many ups and downs and on days when I think I’m going to lose my job, can’t get any of my friends to call me back on the phone or just wake up with sadness again and again, it’s hard to see everyone’s highlights on Facebook.
So, instead I want to show the fight. I want to show hard times, so maybe one day when I go through the hard times, I’ll have an example to turn back on and remember that everyone else experiences loneliness and sadness and broken relationships.
Admittedly, I’m not incredibly happy with this shot. It doesn’t look as amazing as I hoped, but it was one of the first photos I shot with this theme in my mind. I took them under the interstate intersections in Milwaukee and looked for different objects to put in between the couple.
This one actually turned out interesting even though I hope to continue shooting even more disconnected couples in the future.