Love is not red flowers. It is not chocolate. It is not diamonds. Nor candle lit dinners in a chic restaurant. Nor is it the sun setting on the horizon, casting its glowing tendrils over a fire soaked sea while the silhouettes of the lovers stroll casually along the beach, fingers intertwined for a brief moment.
Love is old photographs in sepia marinated memories, faces receding from the prints sucked up by nonchalant eyes grasping for something long gone. Something lost in the meandering paths of times brisk pace.
Love is the portraits of family and loved ones sitting on the mantle piece, hanging on the walls or clasped in the palms of dusty and worn albums.
Love is the absent-presence of those who we wished we could see them one more time and tell them we love them.
Love is new photographs saturated with the present and brimming with that beautiful moment, captured then briefly in the fraction of a second but gone. Gone and never coming back again.
Love is the lengths I go to capture these fleeting moments, extracting them from places where eyes seldom rest, eyes accustomed to seeing virtual reality and not the beauty of the real world.
I walk for miles though my feet hurt. Along the banks of the canal, along overgrown and little known paths in the forest and open fields I plough through, searching for something I know not under the blue sky punctuated by cotton candy clouds.
Sweat beads trickle down my neck as the sun gnaws the crown of my scalp. In my quest for love, I brave the elements and go places, literally and metaphorically, I have never been before.
Through the lens of my camera, I search the horizon, the trees, the undergrowth for a treasure I know not. And when the shutter speed, the ISO and aperture are right, a moment of magic flashes on my sensor.
And click, click, click I go as I hit the button, capturing something that was once out of the reach of both my imagination and camera.
Love is the perfect picture staring back at me through the LCD screen. There is a magic in pictures that streams of meandering metaphors can never capture. It is this love that spurs me on to live life through my lens.
It is this love that drives me to pursue the perfect picture even if no one else loves it the way I do. Even if it brings me neither fortune nor fame.
It is a commitment I will bear to my grave. Unlike unrequited love, I am fulfilled by the quest to capture the perfect picture, and feel the glow in my heart and on my skin like an enamoured lover looking into the eyes of his beloved while holding her hands, and saying nothing but saying the most in the unspoken words.
Love is the devotion to my craft, my hobby, my art, my love – my everything. If I should lose everything, at least I have my camera and a hard drive full of love, bursting through the ports.
It is an unconditional love. It asks no questions. Status, class, race, income, denomination do not exist in its vocabulary. In my pursuit of it, I find satisfaction. It is cathartic.
This is the perfect love. There is no separation. No hard words. No heartbreaks. No tears. No fights. No bruised egos. No bad memories. It is what it is. The perfect picture. The perfect love. A love that never ends.