‘The Marriage Project’ showcases love after 40 years of marriage
‘The Marriage Project’ is a new collaboration showcasing what love is like after 40 years of marriage.
Co-creators Kate Shingler and Kate Fellerath joined Global’s Laura Casella to showcase the photographs and stories they’ve gathered from 12 Montreal couples.
Fellerath specializes in photographing events and portraits, specifically people.
Naturally, her job entails attending a large number of weddings.
At one of these many weddings, it dawned on her that she is always celebrating people at the beginning of their relationship.
“But, in fact, it’s really after that point when people start spending time together that the real love story really emerges,” Fellerath said.
Decades into a marriage, couples have experienced troubles, challenges and incredible experiences that bring them even closer as a couple, Fellerath explained.
“I felt like there was an absence of that in society and in the art that we are seeing,” she said.
Fellerath covered the photography side of the project but she needed a writer. So she took her idea to Shingler and the rest is history.
The duo got together and combined their skills to create a collection of photos.
They met each couple for about an hour or so at Fellerath’s studio in Westmount. With Shingler asking questions and Fellerath taking candid photos the result turned out to be somewhere short of magical.
“The more we asked unusual questions about their relationship, about how they’ve managed to create intimacy and stay connected for all that time, the more they were disarmed,” Shingler said. “Then there would be these moments, these real interactions that Kate was able to capture by camera.”
Something the two didn’t expect was to be moved by the couples. In the short amount of time they spent together, couples opened up and shared some of the most personal details of their marriage.
“It was really intimate and raw,” Shingler said.
“People shared miscarriages, people shared illnesses that their children experienced, people had shared the decision to not have children as a married couple.”
As magical as the finished product was, no couple had a magical answer to the question: “What makes your relationship work?”
Even though they couldn’t specifically answer the question, Shingler noticed a common thread in all the couples that could be the recipe for success.
“One would make the other laugh and it wasn’t always the male partner … but one or the other made their partner laugh,” she said.
Not only was their laughter keeping the room light, there was also some kind of physical chemistry or connection, Fellerath and Shingler said.
“We had one couple who were very exciting about the drama even 40 years plus,” Shingler said. “But they had an amazing physical chemistry, we could sense it.”
The Marriage Project is on display at the vernissage this Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. at 4877 Sherbrooke St. West Westmount. The show will be open a week after the vernissage.
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