This blog post holds very near and dear to me. Each year, I make a conscious effort to shoot personal work for added inspiration outside of my day to day projects. So back in May, I took a workshop with Alex Webb
and Rebecca Norris Webb
, two photographers that I greatly admire. The class assignment was to document anything we were passionate about. No rules, no guidelines, just something that I felt I needed to photograph. And two very special people came to mind.
I've known Ray and Dale since 2005 when I moved in next door to them. From day one, they have been the friendliest faces on our West Village block. During the warmer months, you'll find them sitting on their stoop for hours, saying hello to everyone, especially the kids and dogs.
Ray and Dale have both lived in the neighborhood since the 1960's and met at a bar down the street from their apartment (sadly the bar no longer exists). In Ray's words it was "love at first sight" and they've been together now for 46 years and counting! When the gay marriage ban was lifted in 2011, they were one of the first couples to get married at City Hall. They even made it in this NY Times article.
They have an infinite amount of stories to share about their NYC experiences – everything from marching at the first Pride Parade (they sit on the stoop every year cheering!), the old Village haunts they would frequent, the gentrification of the neighborhood... You name it, Ray and Dale have seen it.
I could go on forever about how fascinating these two are, but what intrigues me the most is their love story. Staying together nearly half a century is a testament for any couple and Ray and Dale do it as the best of friends. They are so much in love and inseparable in the sweetest way possible. It is really something special to witness and I feel so honored to share their story.
Ray and Dale - thank you so much for having me photograph your incredible lives. Any couple that has a fraction of the love that you share is truly lucky. You guys are an inspiration to many and I love you both!
Do you know any couples like Ray and Dale with a unique story to tell? Email me at email@example.com and perhaps they'll be the next on my list to photograph!