14 : Peter & Asha
Typically when I photograph a couple, they’ve been together for awhile. Sure, they still like each other, but they’ve settled into the chesterfield. I had the opportunity to photograph Peter and Asha when their relationship was just freshly sparked kindling. The fire had just been lit, but the new relationship energy between these was palpable. At times during the shoot it felt like firecrackers were being set off when they brought their bodies together in a gentle touch.
Peter and Asha had intersected a few weeks prior at Earthdance, an artist-run dance retreat in western Massachusetts. When the dance training ended, they decided to adventure northward to the Klondike, making a stop in Montreal for even more dance sessions and lessons. During their time together, they had developed an intuitive ability to read each other’s body movements. I had barely suggested the idea and they were dancing on the street in front of Sainte-Cécile Church as if it were the most natural thing in the world. As they danced, it seemed as if a track was playing that only they could hear. Their bodies moved in perfect harmony, and I could sense that my camera and I had receded into the background.
The prototypical (read: mass produced) couples photography is a version of the heterosexual pair that rarely fits even for heterosexuals. This old chestnut calls for a very particular set of asymmetries of heights, stances, and body frames. Even the otherwise androgynous shoe company Blundstones falls victim to using these societal stereotypes with their boot kiss ad. Needless to say, this visual heteronormativity is incompatible with same-sex couples.
In their 2014 book The New Art of Capturing Love, Kathryn Hamm and Thea Dodds discuss the art of photographing same-sex couples. In photographing Peter and Asha I had the pleasure of applying some of Hamm & Dodds’ techniques, such as posing them in a seated embrace, where their bodies were intertwined in an intimate yet egalitarian way. We also made use of visual symmetry with complementary aspects of their outfits such as their backwards hats and the green and blue colours.
After their stint in Montreal, Peter and Asha continued their Canadian exploration eastward to la Gaspésie.
Location: Montreal, QC
Date: October 8, 2015
Equipment: Canon 5diii, Canon 24-105mm, Canon 35mm
Enjoy photos from Matt and Annie's backyard wedding.
This article about Portrait Photography was written by the Montreal-based portrait and wedding photographer Selena Phillips-Boyle.