End of the Relationship Series #641, 2009

Every once in a while you create an image that utterly defines who you are. Today’s portfolio image is called “End of the Relationship #641.“ First of all this was the first time I had shot a couple together, both of the subjects I had been working with individually for several sessions. They had been together for a long time and knew that their relationship was coming to a close. They both needed to move in different directions and felt they had began to separate. The economy was crashing and it was becoming more and more difficult to find work and remain sustainable in Montana. One of them knew he had to get out of Montana and look for work elsewhere. They both trusted me and loved what I was doing photographically so they came to me to capture some images that would embody what their relationship had been before they separated. So I brought them into the studio, designed lighting that I thought would best enhance the mood of that relationship. It was probably one of the most entrancing photo shoots I have ever experienced. I had somehow felt like I had stepped inside their relationship and become a part of what was happening. We shot for several hours and with hundreds of photos, but this was the one that always lept out at me when I began to work through the series, and I am still drawn into it every time I look at it. To me this captured the essence of my identity as a gay man. This moment of connection to another man, embraced in each other’s arms.

So many people have responded that they do not like the title of the image, but to me it is perfect. It holds in time and place a moment, perhaps that ethereal moment in time that we all remember in our minds eye fondly and cherish about being in love. Being in love always seems to fade, but the memory of its emotional impact on us never does. I feel lucky in my life because I have been in love many times whereas so many only get that opportunity once. It is a moment our great vulnerability that often once burned is never trusted again. I am a man who leaps with his heart, always have, and this is what I bring to my art. Yes, I have been burned but it seems the feeling to explore the possibility are limitless, why should we limit our potential for growth, by a bad experience. This image takes a lot of courage to create and let go of that moment so it can live forever. So many times we hang on to relationships beyond their capacities to nurture us anymore. So many times we do not know when to let go and move on and then a destructive process of separation begins to occur where we hurt, perhaps unintentionally what we once cherished. This is perfection as I remember it. We are all human and deserve love, but we must first be open to it. Yet it is remarkable when we can recognize when it’s time to move on and have the courage to do so.

This became a moment when I knew that what I had been creating in private all these years could no longer remain hidden.

Today’s image is dedicated Bryan Spellman, one of the first gay men I met in our small mountain city who became a role model of how to live a life of dignity because of our differences.

2 thoughts on “End of the Relationship Series #641, 2009

  1. Marklin

    >Hands down your absolute best. This is my all time favorite photo. I think the title, which I love by the way, is irrelevant. The image is stunning, evocative, and has the ability to tell so many stories and bring out so many different emotions. It is fine and rare.

  2. BDSpellman


    I don't know what to say. Thank you so much. I can't tell you how much I believe in you and your dream. It will come to pass, of that I'm certain.

    Love and best wishes,


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