Braden Summers moved to France to photograph a modern vision of romance. While living in Paris, his husband (then boyfriend) suggested he shoot a romantic gay scene. “I took it as a welcome challenge,” Summers recalls. And the resulting image of two men holding hands in London (pictured below) inspired him to create “an entire body of work. I worked on a series of photos that would illustrate idealized romance for same-sex couples from a wide variety of cultures and countries. The message I was trying to get across is that same-sex romance is beautiful! It should be accepted and celebrated, not just tolerated, around the world.”
That project became Summers’ All Love is Equal series, which indeed captures the beauty of queer love, but more than that, the photographs also challenge the perception many have in other countries that LGBTQ+ couples exist exclusively in Western nations.
“I remember hearing about heads of state in African countries proclaiming that gays do not exist in their own country and thinking how absurd that was,” Summers says. “Representation holds so much power. If you show people that diversity exists, in time they will fear it less.”
He says that his favorite image still “might just be the first of the series, the men in London walking in the rain on the bridge. To me, there was always something about it that felt simultaneously classic and revolutionary.”
Summers says this project, like much of his photography, “is meant to inspire people to see beauty in diversity; to expand their own definition of what might be considered beautiful.”
Tshepo Sithole Modisane and Thoba Sithole Modisane, a couple who had recently wed in a traditional Zulu celebration, the first same-sex wedding of its kind
All photos by Braden Summers bradensummers.com