Love is in the Air

With Valentine’s Day coming up, why not talk about the L-word.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Some see it as an opportunity to finally tell their crush how they feel by means of sappy cards and cute gifts, whereas others see it as a superficial holiday created by greeting cards companies to rack up profits.

Whatever you think of Valentine’s Day, it’s safe to say that everyone can agree that showing our loved ones how we feel on any day of the year is important.

In this article we will be looking at different forms of love, from brotherhood, to marriage, to father-daughter bonds.

In his photo-documentary “We Are All Brothers Here”, Paul Alexander Knox tells the story of the Bangladeshi community in Sunderland, UK. The community consists of 4000 people, spanning over four generations.

Many Bangladeshi men came to England in the 1960s following the Ministry of Labour Voucher programme. After years of establishing communities and setting up businesses, in the 1980s these men could finally get their families to join them in their new homes. These families still remain closely tied to their homeland, passing stories of their elders on to their children, who in turn combine tradition with modern life in Britain.

We Are All Brothers Here”, photography by Paul Alexander Knox

The story follows the community during the end of Ramadan, a period of fasting and prayer.

Along with his photographs, Knox describes the happenings in a series of captions and an in depth essay, which help understand the background and struggle of this minority in modern day Britain. Not only are they faced with strongly oppinionated locals, but also stay politically active and supportive of their home country, which in turn brings problems to the community at times.

Despite their sometimes difficult lives, the feeling of brotherhood and belonging in the community remain dominant and help the people pull through tough times.

We Are All Brothers Here”, photography by Paul Alexander Knox
“All come from the same town, as Abu Shama says from ‘the same bloodline’.
‘We are all brothers here’.” — Paul Alexander Knox
We Are All Brothers Here”, photography by Paul Alexander Knox

The bond between father and daughter can be unbreakable, one of the strongest and most important relationships a person can have. Exploring this sentiment, photographer Hiroki Fujitani brings us out on a little photographic excursion with his young daughter in his story “Time with daughter”.

The series of photos is short, but the stunning lighting and views from the daughters eye-level captivate the viewer in a warm, fuzzy feeling of what might be described as cuteness.

Time with daughter”, photography by Hiroki Fujitani

The photographer plays with reflections and lighting, resulting in interesting combinations. Daughter and Father seem to come together as one, united by the fun and joy of photography.

The photos remind the viewer of good times had with family members, relatives or even friends, sharing moments together that only they could experience together. These photos are a beautiful result of such moments.

Time with daughter”, photography by Hiroki Fujitani

Finally, we move on to the original idea behind Valentine’s Day: romantic love. Tracie Van Auken portrays same-sex couples in her story “A Portrait of Marriage”, documenting couples who have fought for same-sex marriage rights in the US.

A Portrait of Marriage”, photography by Tracie van Auken

Their stories take place in different states across the country, all in different environments. Their struggles facing coming out and judgemental fellow citizens, but also the loving support of family and friends in the community are what makes this story so heart-warming and hopeful. What brings them together are the little nuances of loving care. Whether the couple is lazily lying around on the couch with their pets, or sharing a knowing glance across the dinner table, the sense of pride and fulfillment in these works is almost overpowering.

A Portrait of Marriage”, photography by Tracie van Auken

Van Auken reaches new hights of happiness and adoration in her series of photos, each photograph radiating warmth and love. Some viewers might even be moved by the intimate portraits of these couples. The simplicity in the composition of the photos lies within the snapshot quality that Auken uses. Each photograph seems to be one snapshot in time, capturing one happy moment after another.

“The nature of this love and commitment, both in spite of and because of the cultural context in which these couples live, is what the project seeks to capture.” — Tracie van Auken
A Portrait of Marriage”, photography by Tracie van Auken

In conclusion, maybe we should use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to be extra loving to our loved ones, regardless of the relationship. In light of these photo stories, any loving relationship is something to be treasured in life. Why not make your Mum dinner, take your dog out for an extra long walk in the park, or even get your friends round to share a bottle of wine over old photographs reminiscing of good times shared.

Pick up the phone and tell somebody how you feel, and give somebody a hug this Valentine’s Day. Spread the love, and the world might be a warmer, happier place.

Have a lovely Valentine’s Day, from all of us at Rinse!

Rinse has invited lots of talented photographers from around the world to share their best works. If we haven’t reached out to you yet, and you also have a great story to tell, please don’t hesitate to come share it with us at Rinse.

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