How do you make a romance last fifty years? In a world where we joke about starter marriages, it’s a question we should probably ask more often.
Photographer Lauren Fleishman hasn’t exactly found the answer, but her latest project, a book called The Lovers, sheds some light on what it takes to commit to another soul for the majority of your life. The Lovers looks at the love stories of couples who have been together for over five decades.
Fleishman told time.com she was inspired to embark on the project after finding her grandparents love letters from World War II. They had been married for 59 years and met on a blind date. After her grandfather’s death she discovered a diary next to his bed where the letters were stored. “I love you with all my heart, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life,” he wrote in one letter.
These letters led her to seek out other couples with such long-lasting relationships. Fleishman’s origial goal was 50 couples, however it fastly became 100. She photographed the couples kissing, going about their day, sharing household tasks, looking after each other.
She collected stories that show you just how prejudiced society can be when it comes to people’s privates lives. In the New York Times she pointed out how one same-sex couple she met had to introduce themselves as siblings to hide their relationship. The female half of a mixed race couple in England found herself disowned for marrying a black man.
The effect of the photos on people are heartwarming, with the tales of love enchanting readers. “In the media you just don’t normally see older people in this way. I wanted to connect people to these couples in the way that my grandfather’s letters connected me to him,” Fleishman said in an interview with time.com.
The protraits are also a way to erase the boundaries between young and old people. “There is something in a kiss that allows you to see past age. Love can be new and young again,” she says.
Have a look at some of the photos below. Not a dry eye in the Image.ie house…
“Yaakov What is the secret to love? A secret is a secret, and I don’t reveal my secrets!”
“Yevgeniy We met at a dancing party. It was in January 1938. My friend invited me to the party, he said there would be a lot of beautiful young girls. Another cadet with high boots had approached her, but she didn’t like high boots and so she said no to him. I was the second one to approach her. I had a different uniform, but I’m still not sure if it was my uniform or my face that attracted her to me.”
“Golda We knew each other before the war, but we never spoke. He was with other girls because he was much, much older than me. You know, he was very nice-looking! He was a tailor, and he had a place where he made suits for men. When we came back from the war, he had gone to my sister’s house. I was staying with her. In August of this year, we will have been married 63 years. I would say love came little by little. Not right away. We were young. And he was older, but I liked him. He spoke to me in a very nice way.”
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