Some love stories last a lifetime, but many go unseen, unheard and undocumented. England-based American photographer Lauren Fleishman found the inspiration for her recent book, “The Lovers,” when she stumbled upon a treasure trove of love letters written from her grandfather to her grandmother during World War II. “The letters were able to show me a side of my grandfather that I hadn’t known,” she told The Huffington Post. “Him as a young man, filled with the joy of being a newlywed.”
Fleishman was struck by the passion and power of her grandparents’ love, an invisible and indestructible force that had persisted and expanded over the course of decades. Many of the letters contained nuggets of emotion that, despite being written long ago and far away, still rung true to the artist. “In one of the love letters, my grandfather wrote to my grandmother, ‘I love you with all my heart, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.’ As a young woman, it was the type of sentiment I could understand and relate to,” Fleishman said.
The letters encouraged Fleishman to dig up more histories of love, seeking out and documenting the stories of other long-married couples. Thus “The Lovers,” a compilation of stories and images of relationships lasting over 50 years throughout Europe and the United States, was born. “I think anyone who has been in a relationship for over 50 years has a lot to offer in terms of reflections and advice,” Fleishman explained. “My hope is that this work connects people of many generations.”