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Then & Now: Zulai & Shahlo - Love Is Project beginnings

December 12, 2020 2 min read

Zulai and Shahlo - Love Is Project 2014-2020
July 1, 2014 - Moscow, Russia      August 2020 - Brooklyn, NY, USA

How often do you meet complete strangers on a plane and strike up a conversation?


Zulai and Shahlo are the first two people I photographed for the Love Is Project on my Aeroflot flight from JFK to Russia July 1, 2014. I was sitting in the middle seat between them. They didn’t know each other either. We started chatting and I asked them some questions about their countries, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. I then had an idea to ask them what love means and photograph them when we landed at Moscow with the very first LOVE bracelet I had made in Kenya with the Maasai.


Fast forward 6 years later,  Love Is Project is growing and spreading more love around the world. Luckily, I still had both of their contacts and reached out to them via email and sent them each a copy of the book and love bracelets. They were amazed to see how far the photo project had come! I guess it isn’t often a chance meeting / photo op with a stranger becomes the launch point for an international brand! ;-)  They both were living in Brooklyn and I asked them to meet up again to reenact that very first photo that launched Love Is Project. Shahlo even brought along her new two little kids!


“Love is acceptance. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evi, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Cor 13:4-6 - - Zulai, Kyrgyzstan


“Love is two people never giving up on each other.” - Shahlo, Uzbekistan


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