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An Up-Close Study of Kisses Shared Between People in Love

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Montreal-based photographer Nastia Cloutier-Ignatiev calls it the “bubble.” When people are in love, she explains, it’s as if an invisible film surrounds just the two of them, insulating them from all the goings on around them.

A sincere if secret kiss is the surest way of seeing the bubble in all its glory, but, warns Cloutier-Ignatiev, the bubble is fugitive and fleeting. Any attempt to capture it must be delicate, lest the bubble burst entirely.

Love is the photographer’s third series of Close-Ups for C-Heads Magazine, and it features real life couples who are either friends of the photographer or muses found on Instagram. While doing traditional fashion photography, she explains, she found herself zooming in nearer and nearer to her subjects until at last she was close enough to see the goosebumps raised across her subjects’ skin.

Cloutier-Ignatiev is not, however, close enough to touch the couples. When she approaches a step too far, the bubble breaks, and giggling inevitable ensues. But as long as she gives them just enough space, the kiss unfolds as if she wasn’t ever there. When their lips touch, she explains, “I just disappear for an instant.”

With Love, the artist hopes to honor love in all its diversity. Due to time-constraints and resources, she was unable to include as many sexual orientations, skin colors, and even religious beliefs as she wanted in her couples, but she hopes that the series can inspire people to accept one another and to celebrate intimacy in its purest form. As for herself, she’s learned to cherish even the smallest gestures passed between herself and her boyfriend.

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All images © Nastia Cloutier-Ignatiev

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