Love, as they say, is a many-splendored thing — but as LGBT photographer Steph Grant's “Happy Lesbian Couples” series illustrates, there's always one common thread: It's one of the best reasons to smile there is. The best reason, even. The photographs, you see, are beautiful not just for their subjects' physical or appearance or for the way they're framed; they capture love in its purest form and in its simplest representation. Whether it's a huge grin or a simple look in someone's eye, nothing can make you smile quite the way love can.
We first encountered Grant's work through the beautiful mountaintop wedding photos she shot for Arizona couple Angel and Monica — but Grant wasn't always a photographer. Over the past five years, she quit her corporate job to, as she wrote in the blog post accompanying the images, “try something different.” She spent a few years photographing families and weddings; she painted; she did some graphic design work on a few logos; and she even spent a Valentine's Day delivering Edible Arrangements. Like many of us have in recent years, whether by choice or by design, she cobbled together a living while still trying to stay true to herself and to the things she loved.
2013 is when it all began to come together — or perhaps more accurately, when Grant herself pulled it all together (we're all masters of our own destiny, after all). She transitioned her photography work into focusing solely on LGBT weddings and began telling entire stories connected to the people she photographed. She posted a collection titled simply, “Happy Lesbian Couples” as a thank you to all the people who have supported her — friends, family, clients, and more — throughout her journey.
But the photos, I would argue, are even more than that. They depict many women and many couples in many different situations: Some are city dwellers, while others live in suburban or rural houses; some are coffee drinkers, while others prefer champagne; some of them had city hall weddings, while others did the whole “white dresses or suits and big reception” thing; but what they all have in common is that they are deeply, riotously in love. And that? That's truly universal, no matter what some people might say. The images are a powerful argument for marriage equality — because how does it make sense to deny those rights to relationships this strong? It doesn't. At all. If a picture is worth a thousand words, these photographs are entire novels.
I've singled out a few of my favorites here; head on over to Grant's website to see more. Oh, and don't forget to play the tune she's provided for you while you're browsing the photos — if they don't already pull at your heartstrings all on their own, the perfect soundtrack will definitely make your cup runneth over.
In her blog post, Grant imparted the following words of advice — words which I'll pass on to you here:
Don't hide. Be you. Be unapologetically ambitious. Stay humble. Learn from others. Surround yourself with people who inspire you and get you. Let those people go that discourage you or look down on you for following your passion. Now is the time to make things happen.
Yes. It is. So whatever you want to make happen? Go out and do it.
See the full series at Steph Grant's website.
Images: Courtesy Steph Grant Photography