The Lovers - PhMuseum

The Lovers

Lauren Fleishman

2010 - 2013

In The Lovers, photographer Lauren Fleishman combines her color photographs with interviews, where couples together for over five decades talk about their love and relationships. Inspired by the love letters her grandfather wrote to her grandmother during World War II, Fleishman began recording the love stories of other couples who have been together for more than 50 years. Finding the letters set her off on a long journey of research, starting with couples in New York, where she then lived, and continuing throughout the United States and Europe.

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  • Jake and Mary Jacobs photographed in Solihull, England. Married on April 27, 1948.

    "Jake said to me,“Would it ever be possible for me to marry you?”And I said,“Possible but not probable!”And that’s how it was. It wasn’t likely that I would ever marry him, and he knew that. So when he went home to Trinidad, my mother and father breathed a sigh of relief. But he used to write, and he said,“I’m thinking I might come back to England.”

  • Furniture in the living room of Leon and Harriett Bolotin, Sharon, Pennsylvania. Married on November 7, 1943.

    "We had our disputes but nothing radical. No earth- shaking problems.We’ve had the problems that I’m certain come with all marriages. However, back in that room, when you had me put my arm around Harriett, I still get a tingle. When we were going out before we were married, I had some girlfriends in Philadelphia, but I could never get Harriett out of my mind. I always knew it was going to be Harriett."

  • Sheri Barden and Lois Johnson photographed with their cat in Boston, Massachusetts. Together since February 8, 1964.

    "You see these movies of grand love affairs—Casablanca, Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet. Wow! Passion in the grand scheme.They’d never make a movie of us, we’re boring.We go to the market, we go to work, we love to shop. But there is a grand passion underneath that. Growing up I used to
    sit in the back seat of the car imagining loving someone as much as I love her. I never thought that would happen."

  • Eric and Elisabeth Mackay, photographed in Lenzie, Scotland. Married on August 28, 1956.

    "I think it’s important to tell each other exactly how you feel and not bottle it.Things get resentful and that’s bad. It’s much better to talk and say what you feel. My husband is very kind, and he’s a very good cook.When I’m ill, he takes over completely, so I don’t have to worry about feeding him when I’m ill.And he’s very courteous.Sometimes he makes me cross but not very often."

  • Chong and Sun Kwak, photographed in Malapan, New Jersey. Married on October 5, 1959.

    "My husband had a stroke last year, and now I am the one who really tries to help him. Before he got sick, he took care of all the gardening. I wanted to help him out, but he said, “No, I want to do it my own way.” So he didn’t let me do the gardening work with him, but now we really need to maintain the garden together."

  • Willy and Balbina Lopez, photographed in Tampa, Florida. Married on October 26, 1952.

    "Marriage has been beautiful. Ups and downs sometimes.The main thing I learned through the years was that she was like my mother.Very caring and taking care of everything. I didn’t have to worry about other things. And
    I respected her, and I kept true to her."

  • Joseph and Dorothy Bolotin, sharing a kiss outside an assisted living facility in Sharon, Pennsylvania. Married on June 16, 1938.

    "In June we will have been married for 74 years. I never think of it in terms of years. I think of it in terms of good years."

  • Wedding bed of Aldo and Maria de'Spagnolis in Itri, Italy. Married on October 23, 1949.

    "We’ve almost become like young lovers again. We’re just one. Even if we don’t show it openly, as time goes by, we are more than ever one.The affection is always there. All I want is to always be close to my wife."

  • Matts and Britta Mattson on the tennis court, Vaxholm, Sweden. Married on May 15, 1959.

    "When Matts and I fell in love, it was like when he touched me I was happy.That was the beginning, and then it matured to other feelings.With time there was more of an attraction. A sense of safety and happiness together. I feel that I am safe in the neighborhood of my husband. And I think he is honest too. In love, we see the one we want to see, and they are safe."

  • Portraits of Eric Marcoux and Eugene Woodworth, Portland, Oregon. Together since June 13, 1953.

    "It will be 60 years in June, and on our first date, the waitress said,“Oh, are you twins?” In old photographs it’s hard to discern who’s who until we look really closely.We both looked young, and we were both conventionally attractive.At any rate the waitress asked us that,and it was intuitive on our part to say,“Yes.”And so we lived formally as brothers for at least a couple of decades.There is still a share of people who ask if we are related. It used to be safer to say that we were brothers. You’ve given me the opportunity to say,“No, I’m not his brother. I’m his lover or his husband.”Whatever you can listen to at the moment and that I love him.Thank you for giving me a chance to tell someone that I really do love him and very deeply."


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