Portland Couples Describe Each Other with One Word

After reading Buzzfeed's "18 Joyful Declarations Of Love From Newlyweds In Seattle" by Matt Stopera, I was inspired to do a similar project in Maine.

Last Friday, I traveled up to Portland to witness some of Maine's first same-sex marriages. I approached 14 couples with sketch pads, asked them to write how long they've been together and to describe each other with one word. On my mark, the couples revealed their answers to their mates and the results were wonderful. I snapped some shots and put them together in this photo essay.


1. First we met Lucie Bauer (left) and Annie Kiermaier, who had been married in 2008, and came to City Hall to celebrate that their marriage was now recognized in their home state. They were happy to participate.

2. Next were Shari Russell (left) and Sandy Duhamel.

3. Inside City Hall, we met Suzanne Blackburn (left) and Joanie Kunian.

When I asked Suzanne to write her name on the pad she left a little note:

4. Next in line were Chris Kast (left) and Byron Bartlett.

5. Then we met Roberta Batt (left) and Mary Donaldson.

6. Michael Snell (left) and Steven Bridger happily took to the sketchpads.

7. Wendy West (left) and Rebecca Leeman were positively giddy when we asked them to participate.

The multi-syllabic word on Wendy's pad means charming, enchanting and tricky. Don't worry, I didn't know it either.

8.  Up next were Steven Jones (left) and Jamous Lizotte--two men who might go down in history as the first gay, wreath-crowned couple to get married in Maine.

They got the giggles when they thought of what word to describe each other with...

and were accosted by a magical woman with balloons on her head.

9. Nancy Barba (left) and Cynthia Wheelock were sitting with their daughter Eliza (age 10) when I approached them. I made her participate with her moms and she totally loved it.

Then it was Eliza's turn to be described in one word by her moms...

She was a good sport. In case you needed to Google "blithe," like I did, it means casually joyful, which sounds wonderful. Not to mention, being described as "life" might be the most epic compliment ever.

10. After Nancy and Cynthia was Jeff Burdick (left) and Josh Laton.

11. And then we met Jen Stuart (left) and Jillian Farrell.

13. And Marie Francis (left) and her partner Carrie.

No peeking!

14. And finally, Allegra Hirsh and Robin Wright.

Robin also made a little adjustment when I asked that she write her full name on the page:

It was an absolute honor and a pleasure to have met these couples and to have them participate in my little project. Thanks to you all and best wishes as you embark on new journeys as married couples. Congratulations!

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