What Remains: Portraits of Women Wearing Their Ex-Lovers Shirts



When all that remains from a relationship is the dingy t-shirt, what happens to the memories, the stories and the sentiment? This is what photographer Carla Richmond and writer Hanne Steen manage to uncover in their collaborative portrait and written word series Lovers Shirts. Photographed wearing their ex-lover’s clothing, the subjects are nameless and their stories are anonymous.

Captured at a time of utmost vulnerability, the portraits show the subjects in a reflective state. Richmond and Steen are not passive observers in the photographic process. Instead, they have a conversation with their subjects by asking a series of memory-provoking questions and documenting their reactions. Their stories are recorded as anonymous statements and strung together as unending poems. What exactly the shirt inspires in those who wear it may be personal, but the photos manage to draw out the unifying qualities of a common human experience – love, or a love lost.








It feels like a flag I can’t stop flying. It comforts me in the meantime between the spaces. It’s just a rag I turned into a promise that he would never leave. Some sort of common thread between us. Part of me wants to rip it off. So many what-ifs and could’ve-beens and should’ve-beens and never-weres. It’s just a shirt. It’s been there for me when people haven’t. It makes me feel childish and taken care of. It makes me look a little stronger than I am. As long as I hold onto the shirt she is never completely out of my life. I’d wear it every day if I could. As much as you build a house around it or put a ring on it it’s all still temporary and dissolving so all you can do is love it. Even if it’s painful we need to hold onto something. Proof that we did it. That we went through it. That we learned something. That our hearts were broken. That we were loved. That we weren’t loved enough. For someone I won’t be something that will be so easily shed.

  • This is a beautiful piece. I think every woman has at least one shirt from a former lover. I still have the yellow, blue-striped shirt that my first love gave me way back in 2003. I never wear it, and it’s stacked away in my childhood bedroom closet somewhere, but I still keep it as a sweet memory of the first time I felt truly loved romantically.

  • IslamIsLame

    Wow, this is powerful.

  • IslamIsLame

    I wish you happiness Amber.

  • American classic leather goods brand COACH, has always been simple, durable style features to win consumers. And has Coach Outlet the reputation of the good old COACH bag, the original design was actually Coach Bags inspired by a softball glove, brand founder Miles Cahn during a softball game to watch live, surprised to find softball Coach Jewelry gloves have more use the more smooth, more soft characteristics, so he tried to go back after the special treatment of Coach Scarf leather to make it more flexible, with easy bleaching, wear characteristics, and simply use a damp cloth, leather can retain perfect as new, of course, this durable and convenient design, immediately Coach Sunglasses by a majority of consumers love

  • I had a Slayer t-shirt that held a similar meaning for me. After a while I made a point to never wear it again. When they gave it to me, I wore it proudly because it represented my favorite band and it was given to me by my favorite person at the time. I kept it like a battle flag, a symbol of strength and confidence.

    When the relationship fell apart, I stuffed the shirt someplace else. Sometimes I find it amongst my things, but I’ve no desire to wear it again. I still love Slayer, they’re an excellent band, but the person who gave it to me is no longer my favorite… and no longer anything. That breakup came at the worst time as I was discovering things about my mental health and had no way of coping with it… so them leaving (and leaving me the way they did: Coldly and with more questions than answers) made things so much worse.

    I think whenever I see it, it’s a reminder of a time when I wasn’t at all jaded and hurt… and a reminder to work hard for that the next person I come to love dearly… to love them better than I have ever loved anyone in the past.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get some visual inspiration into your day!