Looking for Love in All the Places

Looking for Love in All the Places

Why I stalk lovers and put their pictures on Instagram
Becky Lee
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A few years ago, I spotted a tear-off paper flyer stapled to a telephone pole that read LOOKING FOR LOVE. Every tab had been pulled.

"This is all the wrong places" added later by a jaded passerby.

Two years, two photography classes, and a few countries later, I did a deep clean of my hard drive. Between filing away evidence of big parties in tiny apartments and hundreds of nearly identical photos of elephants, I realized that I had taken a lot of pictures of couples. Not five or 10, but closer to 100. And not of people that I knew, but of complete strangers.

On their own, these photos could have been easily overlooked amidst thousands of snapshots of friends and family, but seeing them all together gave me a rush of giddiness and warmth. So, I set out to gather more and began posting the shots on Instagram.

As soon as I launched the account, publicly declaring my habit, I found more and more moments of tenderness in everyday life. I shot from a distance to maintain a layer of anonymity and focus on the transfer of emotion rather than the individuals themselves. My intent wasn’t to get the story behind the shot, but simply to collect these unprovoked and unpolished moments. And as I collected, my definition of public displays of affection expanded to include heads on shoulders, joint selfies, synchronous footsteps—even the imagined closeness of two people standing in proximity to one another. I've found love on street corners, in subway cars, and at national monuments. Instead of walking around with my head down, I was discovering tiny moments of joy in the world.

And the more I found, the more I felt like at any given moment, anywhere in the world, hundreds of people are holding hands, or touching arms, or leaning in to each other. The act of looking for love led to finding it, which led to actually feeling it.

Head to @lookingforloveblog for your fix.

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Becky Lee
Becky Lee is an alliteration aficionado and former Fulbright in perpetual pursuit of prosciutto. She still sends postcards and loves finding marginalia in used books.
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