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life and love

Sven and Bernadette

Valentine’s Day is almost like a religious holiday for me. It is a time of reflection about what matters, whom I love and what I am grateful for. Recently I had the opportunity to photograph a couple who, just by being themselves, reminded me to take stock of life and love.

Sven and Bernadette, whom I photographed for Swedish Medical Center, both have multiple sclerosis. He once studied to be a lawyer. She was an artist and trained architect. They met in Seattle in 1996, early in their diagnoses, and married a dozen years later. They now live in a tiny apartment where they struggle daily to support each other while coping with the debilitating disease that has stolen so much from their lives. When I would call Sven to talk about the upcoming photo shoot, I would ask, “How are you doing, Sven?” and he would say, “Great!.” And I would then recalibrate my own positive-meter of life.

Every time I have the opportunity to witness the lives of others through photography I am reminded of how we are all connected through both suffering and love. Sometimes it helps to be reminded.

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