My goodness we truly could not love this shoot more. Not only for the beautifully minimal style and clean imagery, but for the message that this creative team is conveying - which given a lot of what's happening in the world currently, is more important than ever. Lead by photographer MOMOKO FRITZ and thoughtfully designed by LINN PETTERSON WHEELER the shoot takes us through a Japanese Tea Ceremony which is an important ritual in Japanese weddings. It involves a very elaborate preparation and presentation of green tea, which is seen as a transformative, spiritual ritual that binds the new couple for life. Being such a deeply personal story to MOMOKO I think it's best we hand you straight over to her to read her beautiful and heartfelt words.
"According to a Pew Research Center analysis as early as 2013," a record-high 12% of newlyweds married someone of a different race." Interracial marriages have been progressively growing in the U.S. steadily since the 1967 law eliminating interracial marriage bans came into fruition. The World in general has seen an increase in intermarriages as well. When someone decides to bind himself or herself for life to another they leap into an unknown future that they know will change their lives forever. Marriage is much more than living together and sharing a tax form. It is combining two family cultures and learning how to navigate their union by producing a new unique one. As couples all of the world make this decision they are under the scope of their significant other's family's watchful eye scrutinizing the performance with both a curious and wary eye. Then add the extra complication of one of them coming from either a different race or country. Increasingly, people are uninterested in limiting their potential partner within their race, because we are becoming distanced from tradition and expectation.These new, modern couples are challenging the norm of the ones that came before them through courage and love. Because to cast away your family's expectations for faith in a new idea or person can cause possible strains in relationships, years of separation, change in the dynamic family members.
I wanted to create this shoot to honour interracial marriages, but more specifically to honour my parent's marriage. My mother is from Japan and my father is Caucasian from America. Interracial marriages were still very rare in the late 70s and bringing home a Japanese woman with minimal English speaking skills was not what my grandparents had imagined. Conversely, the Japanese at that time frowned upon anyone marrying outside their race and even today they are now considering half-Japanese as tolerable. My mother knew she could not remain in her country and have a happy family and my father new that he would be in the minority of white men marrying a non-white woman. When my parents got married my mother's family was not present and my father only had his mother as a witness along with two friends. It was intimate, stripped of the pageantry, but challenged societal norms while risking relationships with their family and friends. My mother's dress was from a thrift shop that her future mother in law purchased, because my father had no money. They married in a state where the predominate culture also frowned upon marrying outside of one's race. This all sounds so problematic and sad and it was, but it also wasn't. And when I look at their wedding photos my mother is this beautiful creature with the widest smile and long straight black hair, there are no details captured, no big floral arrangements, not even a sibling, but her smile was so beautiful. It's her best feature, still. My father has all this hair that is now a shadow casted by nothing. But you can tell he just mad the best decision of his life. They look so young, but they look in love and they look humble. I know what they did was scary, lonely and sometimes sad, but it was also full of laughter, work and joy. Courageously, they created a legacy. Today my dad plays his ridiculous clarinet while singing to my mother on their Anniversary, they travel often and I always saw them hug and kiss.
It has only been 48 years since the courts banned interracial marriages from being illegal in all states and my parents married only 12 years after that ban. Only recently as 2014 "37% of Americans say having more people of different races marrying each other was a good thing for society, up from 24% four years earlier. Only 9% in 2014 said this trend was a bad thing for society, and 51% said it doesn't make much difference. We have seen increase of acceptance of intermarriages, but we still have a long way to go. People still struggle with seeing other races marry and this needs to change within all of us starting with how conduct our conversations around differences.
My parents' simple and profound marriage was indeed transformative which bound them forever to each other, to me and my brothers and sister creating a new fantastic family culture. Isn't that what marriage is anyway? Navigating life with people you love and having it be life changing? I have hope for the future, always. I have hope that we will look beyond the external. So this shoot is my gift to my parents and also a gift to the many interracial couples out there. Mom and dad, with their simple union were able to look beyond the veil of race, convention and tradition to see clearly, love and family and many more have done the same."