At the site Archrival Diptych, my husband and I photographed and wrote captions each day for 2014. I loved the practice, but I didn’t feel that the form was air-tight. This year, we are going to try something different: we are going to photograph only one another for 2015 — The Husband’s Wife, The Wife’s Husband began on January 1, 2015.
Here are some thoughts on why I want to do this project, which is understandably less interesting for some because there will be way less cute kids in it.
I am excited about having such severe restrictions after a year with few of them: only one subject, only black and white, no captions. A severe expression of the diptych form.
I want to get to really see my husband, to not be able to turn away. After birthing two children and being immersed in child-rearing for eleven years, it is easy to see him only as background. I was amazed, while looking through this past year’s photographs, how often I cropped him out of the photo. To turn toward one another after years of being distracted by children.
I want to express a marriage. Not a honeymoon; a marriage with a family, with all its fatigue and filth and age and therefore beauty. I want to seek out that beauty, and the truth of the story of a marriage.
I want to pretend in a way that it is just us in the story, to bring that love story to the surface.
It’s scary, to be really seen. I want to move toward that vulnerability. To be photographed as I am, to photograph what I see. Sometimes we are beautiful to one another, and sometimes we are in a negative space, and I want to capture that.
It is much easier to take a visually pleasing photograph of a child. I want to feel and seek out the beauty of aging, of a grown-up. There isn’t innocence and hope in quite the same way at all. Children are self-possessed and unself-conscious, which is beautiful for a camera. With our black-and-white restriction, I don’t even have the pop of color to save me. I seek that challenge.
I want to understand how to be a subject in a photograph. I want to see what I look like, even. I want to see what my husband sees of me. I want whatever is inside of my introverted self to draw itself more outward so the camera can capture it.
I’m not sure if it’s even been done before, photographing a marriage for a year. Will it bring us closer? Will it help us to feel seen? What will happen?