In modern day society and western culture, seeing two people intertwined in a kiss happens on a daily basis without any second thought. It is an action that almost everyone engages in at some point in their life. However, a kiss can have multiple meanings, as shown in the pictures above. A kiss can have many cultural connotations depending on the cultural context and can mean a variety of things including the expression of love, passion, affection, friendship, or good luck. In each of the pictures above, a different emotion is being expressed, but the bottom line remains that a kiss knows no color, no race, no sexual orientation, or class. A kiss is universal. In the first photo, a viewer may notice the black and white couple first, or the fact that the photograph was taken in black and white, but it is obvious that the main focus of this picture is the kiss. The first feelings that may be invoked would be a feeling of love because that’s what a kiss is commonly known for. After reading the caption underneath the photo, the kiss itself takes on an entirely new meaning. This photo was taken in the spring of 1965, in Washington, D.C., of Richard and Mildred Delores Loving, an interracial couple defying the idea of right and wrong as defined by the Racial Integrity Act of 1959 in the Common wealth of Virginia. When you look at the photo, you notice the man is pulling the woman into her as if he wants to protect her from the harm and pain she might endure. His face looks worn and weathered and lined as if he has been battling harsh winds all his life. His mouth is pressed with hers with a determined anger, but his eyes are soft and caring, showing a certain weakness towards her. He kisses her not only to display his love for her but to show the world that he loves her. This kiss is a kiss of defiance and love.
Looking at the second piece, our eyes are immediately drawn to the main focus, the kiss. This piece is a digital rendering done by Adam Martinakis titled the “Last Kiss”. When looking at this piece, a viewer may feel a sense of love and joy, or maybe a sense of loss. This piece depicts a certain kind of delicacy. There seems to be absolute focus on the kiss itself, excluding any distractions so the true purity of the act itself can be captured. The fibers are mainly concentrated at the lips and stretch outward as if there is a blossoming or growing love. It is almost as if the artist is inviting you into this intimate moment that he has created. The sense of loss may come from an obvious realization that the bodies are slowing fading away. Piece by piece, tendril by tendril, their beings, and their essence is slowly slipping away. All the energy that is left seems to be forming at the meeting of their lips, for one last kiss. The strongest emotion that I feel here is love, a never ending and everlasting love.
The boundaries of photography and society are pushed in the next picture giving you a different view on photography. Here you view a black and white couple wrapped up in a kiss; however, you also may notice the angle of the picture. Once again, the main focus of the photo seems to be the kiss. Not only is it the main focus, it has also become the center of the circle that is formed by the couple. The contrast of the colors in this photo make it all that more striking and intriguing. This photo, taken by Andy Barter, was taken against a pitch black background, making the couple stand out dramatically. The women’s pale skin stands out in stark contrast to the man’s skin, but the background allows it all to come together. Their bodies themselves are forming a ying yang, not only with the skin color, but in the way they are standing. This speaks of a balance and the need for each other. It portrays that one cannot live without the other, that it takes two halves to make a whole. It screams of the need to translate to the world that we are all a whole, one world, all brothers and sisters,