As a photographer, Lauren Fleishman has always been attracted to the beauty of love and lovers. Her project extends this attraction to a domain that is largely unexplored, and more importantly, not well documented visually. Like her other work, this project addresses both artistic and documentary angles: sociology and the human geography of emotions, as well as the aesthetics of the body. In this work, colour photographs are combined with interviews where the subjects, elderly couples intimately involved for over five decades, describe their love and relationship. Couples from different backgrounds provide a look at the realities of love: how the previous generation experienced it, survived it, and, more importantly, how it appears in their lives. The body politics of the project become especially clear when gay and lesbian couples or couples with ill spouses are considered. In this respect, Fleishman’s pictures play a central role in addressing homophobia and increasing awareness of age-related issues.
Fleishman has been working on her project in the very intimate settings of her subjects’ homes. She has even photographed the couple holding the title of longest married in the world. The viewer sees how their love reflects and how this love has grown and adapted over time. The intimacy of the photographs creates an interesting effect on people – both intriguing and surprising – showing that viewers share some of the feelings that she put on her work. The beauty in the pictures might not often be immediate, but the aesthetic is compassionate and tries to almost see as young couples.