A couple themselves, the pair reveal their first meeting and their reasons for photographing love and intimacy over the past two years.
Who doesn't enjoy a story of romance, hearing of the meet-cutes, and the moments when two people first laid eyes on one another? When Rona Bar and Ofek Avshalom met three years ago through Instagram, it was initially to work on a joint project together. They launched their own business named Fotómetro, and a year later, love took hold of them, and they became a couple. But the romance doesn't stop there, either; through their work with Fotómetre, the pair have been photographing couples since they met – May 2020, to be exact. The result is a wide-spanning collection of portraits, intimate shots revealing the beauty and closeness of couples photographed in their homes.
"This project is also heavily influenced by our own relationship and the pandemic," they explain. "At first, it was a celebration of our own relationship. But also, we felt like for many years we've been taught that the default, 'norma' kind of relationship looks a certain way, usually heterosexual, same race, status, size… The truth is that real-life relationships are far more colourful and diverse than this, and they deserve far more representation."
The project is entitled Us and seeks to provide a space and platform for a more inclusive representation of love. When starting out, the duo kicked off the project by photographing people they knew before slowly expanding their practice and reaching out to strangers. It wasn't long until they received requests from people online wanting to participate. "From the very beginning, we aimed to photograph real-life relationships," they share. "We wanted to show the diversity and represent couples you don't often see in the mainstream media." By doing so, the pair seek to present the connection two minds and souls can share. Additionally, they wanted to portray the "intimacy and togetherness" of the couples, achieved through a simplified set design and prominence of the subjects in the frame. "The look and feel of the project is mostly warm and natural."
Most pertinent, though, is the focus on skin. Chosen as a way of highlighting the human instinct to love – it is, after all, the most universally felt emotion. Featured as its own protagonist, the couples are usually captured in an embrace, entangled amongst one another in a ball of skin. Or sometimes, someone's head will be resting on a leg, or a hand will be placed around a waist. These photos are far more than surface deep. "The key to this lays in the communication with the couples," they continue. Getting to know the subjects beforehand is a necessity to decipher what they're looking for and to work out what they're comfortable with. "And, of course, we're not always looking for nudity. On the day of the shoot, we keep checking how they feel and what they are comfortable with."
A striking example of their practice can be seen in comparing two couples they'd shot on the same day. One was in the morning – Karin and Rami, a doctor and therapist who've been married for more than 25 years and live in a big house together. The other was shot in the afternoon, a couple named Yarden and Max, who'd known each other for a month and had just moved in together. "It was amazing to see the different stages of the relationships and the magic in each one," they say.
Yarden is also a transgender woman, and both Rona and Ofek are grateful to be allowed into their home so comfortably to share their new relationship. "They understood the project and trusted it – it's really special for us. We love the image that we made for them. We think it reflects their story perfectly, in a very simple way."