Can you spot the couples?
Even though more and more relationships are blurring racial and cultural boundaries, we find that many people still have preconceptions about what couples should look like. To help illustrate this concept, we asked the #xculturelove group — a diverse group of 35 — to submit photos of themselves as an experiment to explore these retro perceptions.
When thinking about how to make photos of modern couples, we looked to the past and were inspired by photographer Martin Parr’s Love Cube project. In 1972, he photographed nine different couples standing together as a pair and standing alone. Parr printed the images so the viewer would match the couples up, card game style.
We put a callout to the #xculturelove group’s members to photograph themselves in a similar style to Parr and submit a story about how people have reacted to their relationship. We received a few photos and responses, and while this is only a small cross-section of the group, we found that their responses gave a good range of reactions from friends, family and complete strangers.
Now, go ahead and guess which individuals are paired up. Surprised? Intrigued? Have your own story? You can share your response and your photos with us by using #xculturelove.
“Most people are shocked to find out that a Japanese and a Korean person are married; there’s a stereotype that people from those two cultures deeply despise each other, and though there is some truth to that in the larger global and political picture, our relationship is really quite normal.” — Noah Cho
“My friends’ biggest shock was less cultural and more [that] I was dating someone so profoundly good and sane. With respect to her friends, I’m not sure; they’ve held their cards pretty close. But more than likely, that I haven’t been as ‘vanilla’ as her previous beaus.” — Shehan Jayatilaka
” ‘Did you date Nathan because of his beard?’ (Because all my friends know that I am attracted to men with beards).” — Lizzie Chen
“[A man in Chicago] looked like he could have been a shorter, darker version of my grandfather except that he was yelling at me something about ‘another black man dating a white woman’ and ‘black men need to stop finding these white women.’ I thought about correcting him. Telling him, ‘She’s not white, she’s Mexican.’ It didn’t hurt me that he said it — I just passed him off as a grumpy old man. But sometimes I wonder if I should have said something to correct him or if [Maria] thinks I wouldn’t defend her if it came down to it. I would.” — Carlton Purvis
“When my husband and I made our relationship public, his family was initially and understandably disappointed that he was marrying someone outside of his religion and culture. Eventually, my husband’s family came around. Now, when people ask how we met, my husband’s mother says: ‘It’s a love story.’ ” — Laura Banish
Editor’s note: Responses have been edited for clarity and length.