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After freelance photographer Lauren Fleishman’s grandfather died, she found a book next to his bed containing love letters written to her grandmother. “That inspired me to start seeking out couples that have been married for over 50 years,” she told Runnin’ Scared on the phone today. Fleishman has been working on the project for three years, and is now seeking funds on Kickstarter to help her photograph more couples and turn her work into a book. We admit we have been cynical about the current onslaught of love-themed media, but we are smitten with these stories of long-lasting New York-area romance.
When working on the project, Fleishman collaborates with her subjects, she explained. She first interviews them, letting them construct their own stories of their love. To Fleishman, the act of recording histories so future generations can remember these couples’ tales is an important part of the project.
You can note the historical aspect of the project in this sample quotation from the Kickstarter page:
“You have to remember the times were different. We met in the 1939 and we didn’t have money. So our group of friends always met at our friend Betty’s basement. There weren’t things like dates and going out to dinner. We didn’t know from those things because we didn’t have money. So we enjoyed each others’ company. ”
Fran Futterman, April 25, 2011.
For Fleishman, a meaningful experience came when she learned that her work lingered in the life of one of her subjects, she told us. After Mrs. Kissin (pictured above) died, Kissin’s son told Fleishman that his mother kept Fleishman’s photograph beside her bed.
Fleishman, New York-based herself, has kept her subjects local in order to make the project affordable. Since starting the Kickstarter said she had been getting messages suggesting other couples to photograph all over the country and the world.
Watch a video about the project below. We can’t help but be reminded of When Harry Met Sally…