Recently I had the privilege of staging a pre-wedding photoshoot in Cyprus for a beautiful Chinese couple. Originally from Shanghai, the couple—Iris and Akran—made the bold move of leaving the din of the city behind for this quiet Mediterranean island, buying a home there and deciding to go back to the traditional pace of life that was once so honoured by Chinese society.
For all the massive amount of change China has been through in modern times, the Chinese people remain modest, approachable, and full of a simple purity that shines through in Iris and Akran’s love for one another. The quiet devotion that is evident between them is, at base, born of the same humble and hard-working spirit that has built China into a global power.
When I shot Iris and Akran’s pictures, this total lack of pretension was obvious in the way they let the world around them fall away without care, seeing only each other, feeling only one another’s tender hugs and kisses. In their eyes, one could see the look of a love so enduring as to be eternal, unchanging, and—like Cyprus itself—something that would only grow more beautiful over time.
Cyprus is, after all, a place of eternity, where people have lived since before the dawn of civilization (from about 10,000 BC), and where the stars can be seen clearly twinkling far off into the heavens each night—something which drew Iris and Akran to the island at once, for in Shanghai, such splendours of the heavens are obscured.
As I finished shooting the radiantly happy couple, the soft glow of sunset filled the sky around them, glinting off their golden skin and setting the passion in their eyes alight. Iris and Akran fell rapturously into one another’s arms as the sun met the horizon in a blaze of fire, and I was reminded why love and sunsets are two phenomena which are so often thought of as poetically synonymous: Love, like a sunset, is a beauty which is beyond the ability of words to describe, which simply happens in a radiant burst of colour as two people grow and mature together. Like a sunset, love has the power to uplift all those who see it, to inspire masterpieces, and to keep hope alive no matter what challenges life brings.