Sunday, 21 February 2016

Dear Future Wife - Love Letters in the form of Photo-Illustrations

I have wanted to get married for as long as I could remember. I have thought of a database of potential dates, anniversary surprises, and even proposal ideas (don't judge me). And while I am still far from being ready for marriage in many ways (financially, mentally, maturity, etc but at the same time is anyone really ever ready...?), this very deep desire of mine to share life with my future wife is clearly evident to me. Another dream of mine is to travel the world, and throughout all my travels, there have been countless moments where I was blown away with what I was seeing, experiencing, or eating, but there was always a subtle pang in the back of my mind, "I wish I got to experience this with my wife instead" (DON'T GET ME WRONG I LOVE ALL THE PEOPLE I GOT TO SHARE THESE EXPERIENCES WITH). Thus the Dear Future Wife idea was born!

This is the view from my condominium every night after sunset, and Grace absolutely loves adding magic to the pictures.

How it began:

I approached my talented friend Grace with the idea of having her draw the character/figure of my wife character on the pictures that I take as if I were traveling with my wife. We discussed traits of what this character would look like, what kind of clothes she would wear, her personality, how she would walk, sit, stand, etc But in the end we decided that instead of being Arnold's wife, she would represent the future spouse that we long for. She would not fit any specific mold or any preexisting person because we didn't want to come from a place of expectation, but she would be simply a hope of the future.

This picture was taken near my old house. I could not help but stare at the mess of streetcar wires that work so flawlessly. This was also during a period where I was feeling uninspired in my own city and desperately wanted to leave, but as Grace encouraged me to explore in my own city, I was able to capture this shot. Grace thought of lines and boundaries as she saw the wires and remembered how she was always taught to think outside the lines, which is what exploring leads to as well.

How it works:

I would send Grace the photographs I take on my adventures, and sometimes tell her what I was feeling/thinking during those moments. She would then draw the wife character based on the emotions and thoughts the photograph incites in her. Sometimes the wife character is just being a tourist with me, and other times she breaks the law of physics completely, interacting with the space in an other-worldly way. I had a lot of trouble thinking of how to caption the pictures. I thought of pushing the cheesiness to the max and attach romantic quotes, or to simply explain what I was feeling/my inspiration for the picture. But in the end I decided on my friend Melissa's idea that I should turn the captions into a dialogue.

This was a random shot I took when I was in Northern Ireland, one that I neglected, until Grace completely changed how I saw this picture through the idea of a game of Hide and Seek.

What's next:

I am going to keep traveling, and Grace will keep drawing (hopefully Grace will get to travel with me sometimes so she can be there when I take the pictures). We want to turn this into a long series of different places around the world. One of my favourite aspects of this project is that I don't need to take the most breath taking photos (in fact, Grace prefers my pictures to be less grand, which is how I usually take my landscape pictures), but Grace will turn any photos that I take whether they are deemed "worthy" of being a part of my portfolio or not, into beautiful pictures. I have been able to send her a lot of my older travel pictures that I didn't think were "good enough" to show to the public, and she has breathed new life into them with her drawings. In the same way, I know that all of our future spouses will be able to breath new air into our lives as well.

One of our ideas for Valentine's Day, "heart on the sleeve".

From Grace:

I am not a romantic person. Nor do I really want to get married. In fact, traditionally romantic and cheesy things, make me want to projectile vomit. However, this project is still one that clings deeply to a theme of love. In the process of drawing Future Wife, I think of the many inspiring women that are in my life. These women fall on a wide spectrum of personalities and characters. Some are avid daydreamers, some are headstrong and boss-ladies, some are quiet and pensive, and some are a bit of everything and more. Most importantly they are all women that (are learning to) love themselves. The Character, Future Wife, is reflective of the many different women that I have met, and have yet to meet. To Me, Dear Future Wife is not so much a love-letter to my Future Self or the other Future Wives to come, but a series of photo-illustrations to encourage us to see all that there is to love within ourselves.

This was a picture from the beginning of our series in NYC. Grace wanted to draw attention to the growth of otherwise "unsightly" weeds and vegetation.