When couples are photographed we usually see them in their ecstatic, soon-to-tie-the-knot mode in engagement shoots, or in the euphoria of their wedding day. What usually happens in the golden years of marriage, however, is something we don’t really see documented in photos or snapshots. This is most likely the idea behind a recent collaborative work between Neil Kremer and Cory Johnson of Kremer Johnson Photography and digital artist Jeff Whitlock.
In this set, portraits remain the narrative device for photographers Neil and Cory to tell the visual tale of a couple seemingly unhappy after what could be decades of wedded bliss. Facial expressions and body language provide the clues to the emotional situation of the couple, and the mood is dark (or at least somber) in the whole series despite the colors being bright and crisp overall. Their story unfolds in the Frank Sinatra House in Palm Springs, which makes for an accurate setting in the portrayal of an upscale family drama.
The set title “Broken” gives a clue on the dismal state of the couple’s marriage, although the creators encourage the viewers to form their own conclusions. What’s most gripping about this emotional photo story is how it depicts the individual and marital struggles which are specific to this point in their lives. We see both characters battling their own conflicts on a personal level, coming to terms with issues such as aging, missing the children, the steep decline in the things they are able to do or enjoy, and even bad habits carried into old age.
“Broken” could therefore refer to either the state of their marriage, or their condition as each individual and one half of the relationship. Whichever it is, this collaborative story is at its core an “exploration of familiarity, marriage during the golden years and the longing for the past that intensifies as we age.”