Love doesn’t change though the years do.
Sometimes it can be difficult to remember that people in photos from bygone eras had the same concerns, hopes, dreams, and loves that we do.
On a whim one morning, I was browsing vintage photos and came across these wonderful pieces of art. Some of them moved me to tears. Others left me grinning. But they all left me hoping that if we have grandchildren, ours will some day look at our photos and see a happy couple, thrilled to death to be with each other, and looking forward to our future together.
From the United States to Australia, London to Sao Paulo, from the Civil War to World War II to Afghanistan, military couples have been taking causal pictures and getting formal military portraits since the advent of photography and photographers. (And prior to photography, a couple might have had an oil painting or tintype made of their likeness, depending on their financial stability, place in society, and place in history.)
Photography of troops and their loved one is an important part of military history that we often forget or overlook. These pieces of artwork, regardless of the medium– whether created by a photographer or a portrait artist– and regardless of the warrior, give us a glimpse into a place in time and the people who lived then.
While you browse these portals into the past, notice that while the uniform may change, the great pride and love you can feel in each of them doesn’t.
Photo Booth Portrait
Before Shipping Out
A Float and a Smile
A Wedding Portrait
On the Honeymoon Express
Hand-in-Hand by the Stanley
Looking into the Future
Credit: I couldn’t find a link for this photo (it was broken on Pinterest), however, it is such a gorgeous photo I had to include it.
Love in Paradise
Out on the Town
Credit: Sadly, this photo led to a broken link on Pinterest, but this is such a beautiful photo, I couldn’t not include it. (By the way, check out her shoes!)
Photo Booth Candids
A Shoulder to Lean On
Credit: Sadly, a broken link.
A Formal Portrait
A Midday Hike
Dressed to the 9s
At the Bus Terminal
While the bus might look different or the mode of transportation might change, nearly every military spouse or significant other has experienced saying goodbye to a loved one during a deployment.
Down the Aisle
Whether it’s a winter wedding, an elopement, or a quiet affair before a deployment, military couples have found themselves at the altar–often with one or both in uniform–and suddenly facing a military journey together.
A WWI Wedding
While the United States spent just one year in theater during World War I, thousands of Americans were called up, serving their country both abroad and at home.
The Main Squeeze
A casual picture of two sweethearts is a great reminder to print out your digital photos. Don’t let your photographs languish somewhere on a flash drive or the cloud. Spend a little time ordering picture books or photographs so that you have tangible momentoes.
Bracelets Are a Girl’s Best Friend
There’s something charming and wonderful about a candid photo of two people in love. This is one of those pictures.
On a Pedestal
Formal portraits give us the opportunity to dress our best and capture a moment in time, just like these two– dressed to the nines and showing off their personalities with a jaunty hat and cigarette.
The Luau Photo Strip
Some photos just capture a moment in time. And these pictures of a sailor and his partner are exactly that: a moment carefully preserved.
Merry Christmas, War is Over
If you’ve ever experienced the deployment of a loved one, you know the twin emotions of joy and relief that course through you when you first see your person and then get to touch them for the first time.
These smiles say it all: happiness, contentment, and love. And so does the sweet inscription: “Like this for always Freddie.”
If you happen to recognize any of these faces and know their story, I would love to hear it!
These totally made me swoon. I’d love, love LOVE to hear their stories. How cool would that be?!
Right?! I wish I knew the stories behind these!
The only word I can come up with is … lovely. The style, the elegance, the hint of a story behind each photo. Love it! (Okay, clearly I came up with a few more words … lol)
I fell in love with them too! :-)
These are so fantastic!! I love all of them, they’re such an awesome collection. My mom once bought a box of old photos at an auction and it had a bunch of letters written between a WWII soldier and his girl at home. My mom tried to find the family & couldn’t, but it was so cool to know the story of the pictures!
Oh, that is so cool! It’s too bad that you couldn’t find the family, but what a wonderful thing to have stumbled upon!
Love it! What an awesome idea!
These are so beautiful!!! I think the Honeymoon Express was my favorite :)
That one is so wonderful, isn’t it?
I love these photos so much!
Me too! :-)
Oh my gosh I love this! I always tell Dane that I was born in the wrong era, because classics are my favorite. Thanks for sharing :)
Sometimes I think I was too! But it is pretty nice to not have to worry about contracting polio and being able to access wi-fi. ;-)
I share your love of all things vintage and these photos are amazing! In particular, the photo of the young man giving his sweetheart a bracelet spoke to me, as my passion is restoring vintage WWII sweetheart jewelry by hand. Thank you for sharing!
What a neat passion, Lauren! I am checking out your Etsy shop right now!
Thank you so much for sharing these they are absolutely beautiful! Sharing with my fan page. LOVE your blog! xo Gaby
It just goes to show some things like love never change.
Love these pictures. Thank you for putting them all together! We had a military wedding. I tried and tried to find an old car for us to get pictures with because our love story and wedding reminded me so much of the WWII era, like many of these pics. ❤️