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Anchorage photographers show love is love

By Shannon Ballard 8:22 PM February 14, 2014

Love is Love project expanding to Lower 48.

ANCHORAGE - When capturing that perfect moment on camera, you can really see how in love two people are.

That’s when photographers Mitch Kitter and Shalem Mathew know they’re doing their job right.

“You want it for yourself because who doesn’t want to be loved like that?” Shalem said.

Meet Jen and Nicole Theulen.

They’re happily married and the perfect couple, Mitch and Shalem said, to show that love — no matter who it’s between — is love.

“The heart of the project was to show that whether they’re two guys, two girls, or a girl and a guy it is the same,” Shalem said.

Almost two years ago, Shalem and Mitch — a gay couple that are getting married in June — found out that others like them were being discriminated against by some Anchorage photographers. So they started a project to show that LGBT couples are no different from others.

They took and displayed pictures of 28 Alaskan same-sex couples.

It’s not a political statement, they said, just an effort to build community and bring people together.

“When you look at this picture, we’re stronger than we were before this picture was taken,” Nicole said. “We just continue to work on our marriage and now we have a baby on the way.”

The Love is Love project has become bigger than Alaska, so Mitch and Shalem are taking it on a road trip.

“We’re really excited to take the project to states where equality doesn’t seem like it will happen soon,” Mitch said. “If you look at states like Kansas who are looking at legalizing discrimination based on sexual orientation, we want to get to states like that and introduce this project to them.”

Someday they hope to take pictures of LGBT couples in every state.

“It’s nothing to do with us,” Shalem said. “People are sharing it because they’re ready to see a project like this.”

This Valentine’s Day, Mitch and Shalem said the camera isn’t defining love. It’s showing it.

Click here for more information on the project.

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