Photographer Sujata Setia travels the world running photography workshops for students in places like Ireland and Dubai. Wherever she is, she asks elderly, long-married couples to volunteer as models for her and her students. “Let us take some engagement-style photos of you and you can keep them,” she tells the couples.
Their reactions are usually quizzical. “Who, us? Why?”
“It’s just the pleasant shock of never, ever imagining that someone would ask them to pose like a newly married couple at 80 years old,” Setia told HuffPost.
The resulting photos are sweet and poignant, captured in Setia’s trademark light-filled, painterly style. (She’s also taken photos of grandparents and their grandkids.)
The London-based photographer admits she usually has to coax the couples to act like newlyweds, at least initially.
“I tell them to hold hands, kiss. The couples always laugh first, the husbands mostly,” she said. “And then the shoots are always so full of laughter because both husband and wife are endlessly giggling.”
Eventually, the couples’ initial shyness gives way to genuine romantic moments ― sometimes a little too romantic. On a recent trip to Ireland, the couple Setia was shooting at a beach were so into each other, she had to ask them to ease up on the kissing.
“The weather was ridiculous that day. There was rain and thunderstorms and the couple was freezing but the lady would not stop kissing her husband,” Setia said. “I had to literally shout, ‘Mary, will you stop kissing your husband. I need to take different shots!’”
For more of Setia’s très romantique photos of couples, scroll down and visit her Instagram page for more of her work.