Photographers Mitch Kitter and Shalem Mathew, started the Love Is Love Project to create a visual story of love and commitment of LGBT couples and their families across the U.S.
According to the Kickstarter page for the project, Kitter and Mathew are professional photographers from Anchorage, Alaska. The duo specialize in conceptual photography, high-end portraits and weddings.
After starting in 2014, The Love Is Love Project visited Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. Highlighting areas where marriage equality have had rocky beginnings, but the community remains resilient. The project promotes bringing “more love to more people,” specifically to states where the prospect of equality for the LGBT community seems insurmountable.
On their Kickstarter page, Kitter and Matthew express concern about the potential challenges they faced during this endeavor. “Finding couples brave enough to be photographed and share their stories in these states will likely garner local attention, so there are potential difficulties (and opportunities) in each community.”
Typically for LGBT couples, it is difficult enough to openly express themselves in harsh environments, but the few who feel safe and supported enough to do so can help pave the way for others.
Their original goal was to photograph LGBT couples in the Midwest in May of 2014. After gaining a lot of recognition both online and in their Alaskan community, the duo was able to reach a secondary goal of photographing couples in the South in November 2014. By reaching out to different self-identified couples online, Kitter and Matthew were able to journey across the state to meet and shoot with multiple couples of different walks of life.
Their Kickstarter has raised $33,499 to date, which helped fund their travels to document these individual’s lives, as well as host gallery shows and the creation of the Love is Love coffee table photo book. The project has gained national acknowledgement and appreciation from LGBT couples and families who finally have a tangible and relatable representation of their lives.
Kitter told The Huffington Post in January of 2014 “Many conversations we hear about equal rights for the LGBT community are either religious or political, and fall flat in the face of real life stories.” Kitter continued on to say “The power of the ‘Love is Love’ Project is that it is unapologetically honest, all we are doing is showing people something they otherwise might not see. This project shows that though love may have many faces it is still that same love we all hope for.”
Kitter and Matthew set out to visually communicate a real perspective of LGBT couples with the Love Is Love Project, hoping to tell stories and make connections along the way. Kitter told The Huffington Post “Early on in the project we realized the photos we are taking are only half of the power of this project. Each couple we have met along this journey have impacted our lives with their stories of courage, love, commitment and loss.” And they did just that. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
All Photos courtesy of https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/loveislove/the-love-is-love-project