Love is the emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion,and affection. Love may also be described as actions towards others (or oneself) based on compassion.
Or as actions towards others based on affection.
This diversity of uses and meanings, combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, even compared to other emotional states. (source: Wikipedia LOVE)
Love comes with so many faces and as a photographer I’ve seen a few, like the family I photographed earlier this month. Pure love. You can see it every time they look at each other; their smiles get bigger and their eyes brighter. Karina and Mireille are a lesbian couple who have been together for eight years and married for five and a half.
I had the chance to meet and photograph Karina and Mireille recently in the Ottawa area, where they live with their two children – Eliane, 4 and Karl, 19 months. Karina and Mireille each carried and delivered one of their children and their children are aware who birthed who. Eliane and Karl’s dad is also very much in the picture. He visits often and special holidays and occasions are shared with him and his family. This really is an incredible family that just makes it work.
Just like all families Mireille and Karina make decisions together and they weigh how those decisions will effect their family as a whole. Although they do a lot of the same things “traditional” families do, one thing that is different is how they show signs of affection. When Karina and Mireille are out in public they don’t hold hands, they don’t kiss. They seem very adamant about being respectful of the people around them. This made me really think because I am a touchy-feely kind of person, always holding my husband’s hand and giving him little kisses. I can’t imagine not doing that when we are out. I also never realized until now that when I’m not with my husband and someone asks about my status, they always say husband never partner.
When talking about gay families, Mireille and Karina had this to say:
“Studies have shown the kids from gay families are the same as any other child. People tend to say there is a non-existent father figure and that is just not true – there are plenty of male role models in these kids’ lives. Whether you’re gay or straight, all families deal with the same obstacles.”
I tend to agree, especially when they said this:
“The most important thing is that the kids are loved.”
Most people are aware that the image of a rainbow is used to symbolize gay pride. Mireille said, and I loved this, “all colours are love and the rainbow represents everyone and everyone is different”.
Spending time with this awesome family has confirmed for me that there needs to be more support in our community for gay families. There seems to be an extra step of difficulty when you are a gay family. Anyone who says that gay families aren’t really families hasn’t taken the time or effort to get to know them. Mireille and Karina’s family is pure love and in my books that’s what makes a family!