Before I tell the story of this same-sex proposal photography shoot, I want to take this moment to share a little bit about what this proposal means to me and the role it plays in the arc of my photography career. Some people may be put off by this proposal and decide to unfollow me on social media, or worse, and that is okay. We are all entitled to our opinions and beliefs. Here is mine: I try to treat everyone with respect and dignity, regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation. I grew up in a homogenous bubble and was later exposed to a diverse world, where I was exposed to all kinds of people, cultures, and beliefs. This made me a better, more compassionate and empathetic person. In short, I realized and believe, that at our core, we are not different. My best friend is a gay black man. Some of my college roommates were gay. I have gay friends who I love dearly. A member of my family is gay…and all of them are amazing, loving, caring people who I am proud and lucky to have in my life.
Photography continued to open up the world to me, allowing me to photograph weddings of various cultures and religions. I have been a part of Greek, Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese, Indian, Pakistani, Sikh, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, and Jewish customs and traditions (that I can remember off the top of my head.) Regardless of gender, religion, birthplace, or whatever demographic one would like to use to categorize people, there is a common and universal set of emotions that we all feel…and it is my job, and honor, to capture them. Love. Joy. Sadness. Laughter. Pride. Happiness. Commitment…all things we as humans understand and can relate to.
While I may not be as eloquent in explaining my feelings as others, it boils down to this: life is too short to operate in anything but love. Focusing on differences divides while focusing on similarities binds.
With this belief at my core, I was excited to say the least, when I got the opportunity to photograph my first same-sex couple. Stephanie sent me an email explaining that she is helping her friend Charles plan a proposal for his partner somewhere in Detroit. Reece, Charles’s partner, loves Detroit and anything botanical. Stephanie and I bounced around some potential ideas while Charles started planning the scavenger hunt ahead of the proposal. Ultimately, we chose the to incorporate the most iconic view of Detroit into their proposal.
I met Charles at the southern tip of Belle Isle, where we has excited and pacing the area where he would later propose to Reece. We walked through how he would propose and where I would be hiding one last time before I left him to himself while we both waited for Reece to arrive. Once he did, Charles smiled widely as Reece walked over and embraced Charles. Having already completed a morning-long scavenger hunt, which took Reece to all of their favorite and most memorable places, Reece knew there was only ending to this story…
With Stephanie and her husband looking on, Charles pulled off the perfect proposal for Reece. Next, it was time to celebrate and commemorate this moment with some photography around the Isle.
Special thanks to Charles and Reece for not only allowing me to be a part of your special moment, but for being my first same-sex proposal photography gig. I will always remember and appreciate these moments.