Creating Change With a Camera
Artist Ara Lucia fights the same-sex marriage battle from behind her lens, creating hauntingly beautiful images in her Love Wins series to commemorate and encourage progress.

“The Kiss” by Ara Lucia

In an era of change, each state-by-state passing of the same-sex marriage bill has been a victory, and though we still have a long way to go, the progress we have made is because we’ve all fought in our own way, whether it’s been with petitions, protests or phone calls to our senators. Artist Ara Lucia has selected photo fables as her weapon of choice to fight this long-overdue battle for love. Photo fables are more than just photographs—they are a series of narrative images depicting a story that takes place in an invented world, with the viewer filling in the blanks on how the characters jump from frame to frame. By using this form, Lucia is able to tell a story, but viewers get to choose how they read it. Aptly titled Love Wins, Lucia has taken two captivating photos from two previous photo fable series to create a limited edition special (available in 20×24, 11×14, and 8×10 sizes), commemorating the historic steps that have been made toward equal marriage.

The first image is “The Kiss,” a beautiful manifesto glorifying the love and connections between two women. Taken from her romantically enchanting series, We Vow, which she created in response to Prop 8, it “celebrates what marriage is all about. It’s what we’re fighting for, and what prevailed in New York … it has a positive, hopeful quality.”

“We Meet Again” by Ara Lucia

The second is from her photo fable Tala & Louison, which is a modernized and feminized version of Little Red Riding Hood, in which Little Red (Louison) meets the Wolf (Tala) in the tree for a whimsical game of cards. The photo she selected from this set for the Love Wins series is titled “We Meet Again.” “Although we are all celebrating, not all of us are going to be getting married this year, so I wanted to offer a non-wedding image,” explains Lucia of her selection.

Tala & Louison
and We Vow took her one and two years, respectively, from concept to completion. These stories that send such a strong statement often begin with something as simple as a piece of fabric. “The fabric inspires an idea of a garment, and then, the woman who would wear the garment. The woman then tells me her story,” she says, describing the process. After nailing down the narrative, the story is then unraveled under Lucia’s direction by photographers, makeup artists, actors, lighting crews, and stylists.

Though each story is set in a fantastical setting, people are still able to relate. “The fun is that people see so many different stories in them, based on what each viewer brings to a given image.” For We Vow especially, Lucia purposefully set it in a different time period so viewers could separate themselves from the volatile debate and just look at the story. “I knew there was an inherit risk in that methodology because it could result in people walking away saying ‘It is just a story,’ but women ended up saying to me that it’s their story. And that’s deeply satisfying.”

The combination of these two works sends a powerful message, one that Lucia hopes will illustrate the challenges and encourage viewers to stand up for marriage rights for everyone. “If all of us are not free, none of us are free,” she says.

And with people like Ara Lucia at the helm of this fight, love will win and this particular story will have a happy ending.

Follow Ara Lucia on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ara_lucia