Love: The Greatest Gift of All

As much as I pretend I am not a hopeless romantic, I couldn’t let Valentine’s Day pass without sharing a little love.

Not just to all the lovers out there, but for all of us, as human beings that continue to experience love in all its glorious forms and that includes self-love too.

I was speaking to a colleague about the relationship with love and religion recently and it was her comment that reminded me it is SO easy to love people in your life when everything is going swimmingly, when there is joy, ease, a firm foundation and good health. What stands the true test of love in any given relationship, is being able to love when there is struggle, when there is ill-health, when love tests you to your core, when your foundation does a 180 degree flip. To discover how to love, in spite of is where the real gold is. Learning to love unconditionally is a powerful gift to  to share and a priceless and truly wonderful gift to receive.

JK Photography

I asked some of my favourite photographers to share their favourite images that encapsulate love in all its forms, the sheer joy, the abandonment and also the sadness and anguish it can also bring. Love is remarkable, it is infectious, but it is not just one thing, that’s part of its complexity and its beauty.

Here are some of my favourites. I defy you not to smile and cry!

 

Photo: Lisa Webb Photography 

A moment quite like no other: lovely bride Sabie overcome with emotions at seeing her soon to be husband Paul waiting for her at the end of the aisle

Photo: Katch Silva  – Heather embracing her father on the morning of her wedding day. This was the first time he saw her in her dress. A beautiful bitter-sweet moment and reminder of the absence of her mother, who passed away when Heather was in College.

Photo: Becky Bailey  Groom Okan jumping for joy!

Love is a lot like dancing, you just surrender to the music.

Photo: Photography by Soven

Tenderness is the greater proof of love than the most passionate of vows –  Marlene Dietrich

Photo: Kat Forsyth

The only way love can last a lifetime is if it unconditional – Stephen Kendrick

Photo: Annie Lovett Photography 

Love yourself first and everything else falls into line – Lucille Ball

Bride Liz says: I discovered body positivity and began to think of myself as a person of value and beauty whatever the label in my wedding dress would say. I was thrilled to be marrying a man who adored me exactly as I am – every curve and every quirk, and I found a photographer whose photographs were so beautiful and natural I knew that the images we would have to remember our day by would be special however I looked.

I’ll admit that there were times in the run-up to the wedding when I panicked, worries about not being able to control the kinds of images taken of me and the camera angles used at times drowned out the fledgling body positive messages in my brain, but on the day the nerves, excitement and pure joy overrode every last concern. The moments captured by Annie were the most intimate and special moments of our day. There was nothing posed in these three images, they were magical moments that were shared between my husband and I. The way he held me, the delight at how we had done it – we were married and the closeness we both felt I still can’t believe has been so beautifully captured.

There is not a photo from Annie’s set that I do not absolutely love of myself. My large, comfy curves, Alex’s skinny frame and painful fancy shoes, and the knowledge that we were exactly who we were – no dieting, no targets of “perfection” – we married each other for who we were in these beautiful, perfect moments.

As an aside, since the wedding and the revelation that I could enjoy looking at hundreds of pictures of myself, I have learned to be accepting and even loving of all pictures of myself – what a gift. Out of loving and celebrating my love for my husband I have developed a love for myself too.

Photo: Matt Badenoch

Goodbye between Indian bride and grandmother: This photo was taken during the Vidaai (the bride’s farewell). It shows Sheena saying goodbye to her Grandmother

 

Photo: Photography by Soven

There is a princess inside of all of us

 

Photo: Kate Jackson

Just before his bride was about to walk down the aisle this groom burst into tears, he held his hand up to me to let me know he just needed a minute where my camera wasn’t on him, which I of course obliged – even if his tears and this moment were utterly beautiful. Then he looked up at me and nodded. A sign he was now ready. Not my usual style of portrait, but it summed everything up in that moment – such pure love. The tears still sitting in the rim of his glasses.

 

Photo: Photography by Soven

It’s not the circumstances that create joy, it’s YOU!

Photo:  Caught The Light Photography

I realised that true love isn’t finding someone you can do everything with, it’s finding someone you can do nothing with…. I can do nothing with Africa and still be the happiest man in the world – Jermel

 

Photo: Matt Badenoch

Taken during the ceremony of Bill and Gavin’s wedding. They’d both been waiting a long time for this day and in the moment Bill was unable to hold back his feelings.

 

Photo Esme Robinson

Love is not an emotion, it is your very existence – Rumi

Photo: Jamie Sia Photography 

Dance like nobody’s watching

 

Photo: Photography by Soven

No one in this world can love a girl more than her father – Michael Ratnadeepak

Photo: Katch Silva

Front and centre.  One Smile can’t change the world, but your smile changes mine.

Happy Valentines Day

xx

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One Response to “Love: The Greatest Gift of All”

  1. Heather
    February 14, 2018 at 10:06 am #

    Too busy smiling with eyes full of tears. Thank you for this Nova. It is a reminder of how happy I am to be on this journey of life. I am humbled by the magnitude of it all & truly thankful to now share this journey with my husband. Going into this Valentine’s Day, I’m in bed sick with a cold but can’t help but feel so much joy and gratitude because my husband brought me my favorite soup and made me smile. As he mentioned, we take care of each other, that’s what we do.

    Happy days of Love
    -Heather

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