Valentine’s Day is an opportunity for lovers to celebrate the love they have for each other; a love that can be very affirming, deep, tender and precious; a love based on acceptance and trust.
However, love can also be subversive, and challenge the shifting social norms and mores. Love between different social classes, races and religions as well homosexual love can be reviled or even suppressed, for instance.
I came across some graffiti recently near Brick Lane, East London a few months ago. It was something I could have easily missed, and am glad I didn’t.
The graffiti is very simple, but profound. A girl and a boy holding hands, in a doorway; the doorway was on a side street. With a certain shyness, the lovers steal a moment together. While not flaunting their love, they aren’t entirely out of view either.
The viewer was left to interpret the story. Was it of two young lovers wanting a more private moment together, away from the ridicule of peers and the knowing eyes of elders? Were they trying to hide something from their friends, family, and society at large?
The image for me encapsulates the conflicting nature of love. On one hand, something that is profound and beautiful; on the other, revealing humanity’s deep unease of something that is rather difficult to control. I find the image both affirming and subversive.
The graffiti art works as a black & white photo rather than colour. The black & white of the graffiti and the surrounding buildings bring out the subtleties of the image. I took the photo on Ilford Delta 400.
The above image is available to buy as a print. For more information, please click here.