New York-based photographer Braden Summers made waves on Valentine’s Day last year with his All Love Is Equal project, a series of photographs shot in many different locations around the world featuring gay couples in visually stunning and highly stylised settings. After raising the necessary funds through Kickstarter in 2013, Summers travelled to Paris,Mumbai, Beirut, Johannesburg, Rio de Janeiro, New York City and California, capturing gay and lesbian couples from each culture he visited.
The resulting images are somewhat idealistic and perhaps ‘too perfect’, but there is a reason for that, as Summers explains: ‘‘Beauty has been used for centuries to help sell lifestyles and to help sell clothes. My imagery intended to use this methodology to help sell the idea that gay love is just as romantic as straight love. We constantly view models illustrating romance for wedding proposals in Tiffany ads and for luxury tourism; these images have ultimately set the bar for what romance looks like… There is a fantasy of what beauty is that is perpetuated by the likes of many photographers and largely with images alluding to heterosexual companions. My work strives to be the antidote, not simply providing a fantasy for the LGBT community, but mostly providing a relatable vision of gay romance by using the same tools that sell straight romance.’’
While we could remain sceptical about whether LGBT couples actually need to be portrayed in the same terms as the ‘heterosexual fantasy’ in order to be accepted and legitimised by society, these images are nevertheless beautiful in themselves, and no less a much needed step forward in making all the different kinds of love found in this world equally visible.