POSING WITH MY HUSBAND BEFORE HE WAS MY HUSBAND
Brian and I worked for the East Valley Tribune in Arizona as newspaper photojournalist during the late 90's. We barely knew each other when a mutual friend and fellow photographer, Samantha, asked us to pose for a freelance job she was working on for a national photography magazine. Her assignment: Taking natural couples portraits.
The three of us went to a nearby playground to take the pictures. Samantha set us up in various positions from snuggly to silly. It was super awkward at first but Sam worked her magic — wearing us down shot after shot. Twisting arms, moving hands. Changing our embrace until nothing was left but sweet vulnerability.
What can you do? You're just wrapped up with a complete stranger! You're forced to let walls down. You're forced to laugh and smile. Your forced to gaze and breathe and connect in way that I can only explain as human.
Then it was over. Got the shots. Great. Everyone went off to other things — separately.
Now, I can remember my face feeling red and how bright it was that day. I remember Brian's white shirt. I remember thinking that the images were cute when Sam showed them to me just a few days later. She had done a nice job. But that's about it; nothing amazed me at the time.
It wasn't until Samantha brought out those same photographs out two years later that I really saw it. It was amazing. Brian and I were seriously dating by then and I saw it. I fit right under his arm perfectly. From my expression, I felt safe. I saw the look Brian that gives me when he thinks I am being adorable. I saw how I touch him in photos. I saw us— our connection.
Whoa! How we connected with each other before, not knowing each other, was the same way we connected with each other now that we were together. It was a shock to see.
I wish I had those photographs now. I don't. Brian and I have been married over 10 years and have daughter together. What would I be able to see now? Our bodies and faces have changed, but our connection has not.