The issue of marriage equality for LGBTQ+ people is something that has been very prevalent in my life lately. I feel passionately that my partner and I deserve access to the same marital rights as any other couple. We are at the two year stage in our relationship and we feel like marriage is the next step for us for legal and personal reasons. We plan to have children soon and marriage would provide an extra legal protection for our family. Emotionally, we have both always wanted a traditional white wedding. We have religious families and we would like to have our relationship recognised like any other couple, free of the limitations that exist legally within a civil partnership.
In deciding to address the theme of marriage equality for my Collaborative Self-Portrait, I felt it was only right to consider having my partner in the photograph. On the day we took the pictures I had rings readily available. I thought it would be a good idea to have these in the photograph as a motif. I placed the rings just within reach to reiterate Northern Ireland’s regression in comparison to the rest of the UK on the subject of marriage equality for LGBTQ+ people.
We decided the staging of the image should be intimate but also domestic, in reference to my thoughts on the importance of showing the day-to-day, average lives of LGBTQ+ people. To create cohesiveness with the rest of the photographs in the series we used a soft lighting and I faced the camera directly. I was actually having so much fun I found it quite difficult to stop smiling when taking the photographs. However, I wanted to show that marriage equality for LGBTQ+ people is a serious issue and I didn’t want the photograph to give the impression that we are happy with the current situation in Northern Ireland.
Overall, I am very happy with how my Collaborative Self-Portrait has turned out. I think the colour scheme works really well with the lighting and the rings are a nice touch. I love the intimacy of the photograph and I believe it puts a relatable face to the issue of marriage equality for LGBTQ+ people in Northern Ireland.