Armed with a belief in love’s uniting power, one Canadian photographer has set out to document the stories of interfaith couples for the Interlove Project.
While interracial relationships have become more common and accepted in Canada in recent decades, photographer Colin Boyd Shafer believes interfaith relationships are still somewhat culturally taboo. To bring to light this situation, one that seems to avoid public attention, Shafer created the INTERLOVE documentary series.
As a photographer, Shafer illustrates hidden stories of everyday people. Last year, Shafer received recognition for his Cosmopolis Toronto project, which celebrated Toronto’s international diversity. Over the course of a year he photographed Toronto residents who had been born in other countries; by the end of the project he had a collection that represents every single country of the world.
Last fall, Shafer shared about this project in a TedX Toronto talk. The diversity he uncovered during the Cosmopolis Toronto project led to the idea for INTERLOVE. In December, he successfully ran a crowdfunding campaign to allow him to expand the project to include the entire province of Ontario.
Marriage represents an intimate relationship between two people. Religion represents an even more intimate relationship, that of self with a higher power. It also contains cultural and familial connections that can prove challenging when a person of one faith enters into a relationship with a person of another. As Colin Boyd Shafer sees it, love goes a long way toward smoothing differences between two people, especially those of diverse faiths. “People who are letting love conquer that divide are great examples of communicators,” Shafer says. “Surely we can all learn from that.”
To date, Shafer has beautifully captured eight couples and their stories. Each profile includes a photo of the couple together, doing something that represents their relationship, and a photo of each while they are looking at the other. Their stories use simple language and incorporate a lot of their own words.
If you are an interfaith couple in the Ontario area and would like to take part in the Interlove Project, you may apply on their website.