WATCH: A Toronto photographer is documenting stories of love, the kind of love that conquers a divide in belief. The Interlove project is a series of black and white portraits of interfaith couples.
Toronto photographer Colin Boyd Shafer is exploring a subject which may make some people uncomfortable; interfaith relationships.
For his project InterLove, Shafer plans to photograph 100 couples who practice different religions. He has already photographed five couples with a variety of beliefs, including Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Christian.
“You have two people who are trying to make it work in a way that has never really had to happen exactly as it is happening today,” said Shafer.
For now, Shafer is focusing his lens on Toronto couples, but if his online fund-raising efforts are a success, he will expand across Ontario and even Canada.
“I’d like this project to be a bit more wide in its scope because I do think it’s a Canadian topic,” said Shafer.
He’s building on a project from last year, during which he photographed over 190 Torontonians representing every country in the world.
One of the couples Shafer has already photographed is engaged.
Sahar Zaidi is Muslim from Pakistan and Alvaro Tovar is Catholic from Columbia, so falling in love surprised them both.
“Absolutely, I had never ever thought that I would be in a relationship with anyone who wasn’t Muslim. I surprise myself every day, like what am I doing? But it just feels good,” said Zaidi.
The better they got to know each other, the more quickly the differences fell away.
“We started realising that actually we have very similar values,” said Tovar.
They met at university, but it was their shared love of books that helped bridge the gap, so they chose to be photographed in Indigo.
They said that while there have been some negative reactions, their families became supportive fairly quickly.
They believe religions meet at the level where it is just about being a good person.
“We just found it very surprising that what they say in the church is very similar to what we say at mosque it’s just in a different language,” said Zaidi.
They are taking part in Shafer’s project in hopes that their photograph, along with the others, will help create more tolerance in the world.