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!