is pizza is the only thing better than love?
According to photographer Stella Asia Consonni, yes. Yes it is.
Love is beautiful and grimy and amazing, and photographer Stella Asia Consonni thinks that it’s also the only thing that truly makes us happy, “apart from pizza.”
The London-based photographer and filmmaker picked up a camera aged fourteen as an excuse to skip Ancient Greek class. She’s been been focusing on youth ever since, foregrounding freedom from social stereotypes. “I like my photography to carry the message that people do not have to follow certain criteria to be accepted or succeed.”
This motivation explains Stella’s latest project, the one she’s most proud of. She shot a bunch of strangers kissing and languishing in each other’s embraces and lost in a vortex of infatuation. But it didn’t come easy. “In the beginning of the shoot, everyone was a little conscious about how they looked in camera,” Stella says, “but they let their guard down once they started kissing.” Locking lips, it turns out, helps with a lot of things -- shyness, insecurity, spats. “Joni and Cyril had a beautiful baby few months before I shot them, so when I arrived things were a little tense,” Stella says, sympathetically adding, “It must be so hard to balance London life and a child!” But after about an hour of getting cosy, their woes fell away and intimacy prevailed. “Sometimes, when you have a fight with your partner, all it takes really it’s a bit of snogging.”
If the process was therapeutic for the couples, they weren’t the only ones. Stella’s idea for the series came on the back of a particularly painful break up, because what better way to cure a broken heart than masochistically surround yourself with happy couples in the throes of passion. “I do realise the absurdity of the thought,” she says, “I have always been quite brutal with my personal problem solving strategies.”
Stella’s response may seem somewhat paradoxical, she’s got a point. It’s easy to get swept away by waves of positivity when you’re at peak romance. But it’s during the shit bits that we need hope the most. When the world’s awash with hate and hurt. When we need to sit down in the shower, sweat mingling with soap and tears, water beating down on us until it runs cold. It’s in these moments that we need to remember that love exists, and it is pure, and we will be ok.
These portraits are part of an ongoing project that Stella plans to exhibit it later in the year. In the meantime, if you want your love immortalised in beautiful pictures, Stella welcomes you to slide into her DMs .
Photography Stella Asia Consonni
Photography assistance Albert Barrio and Amy Rose Rumbold