30 Inspiring Portraits Of The People Of Boston

Boston strong. Thanks to the the street photography project Portraits of Boston, a diverse look at a resilient city — before and after the marathon bombings.

“Be happy,” he said, “and stay happy.”

“I am an ex-inmate. I realized my mistakes. I’ve paid my dues to society. I am rehabilitated. Today I am out here on a business mission to get a job in customer service. Yesterday I had an interview and right now I am waiting for a call on my Bluetooth headset.”

“The dog kept running around her in mad circles, and she kept spinning around trying to catch it. The two formed a hilarious whirlwind, which lasted a minute. When she finally succeeded, she looked both happy and proud.”

She [told] me that marriage takes commitment “because everything is not always rosy.”

“No, no!” her husband interjected. “Everything IS always rosy.”

“Are you dating?”
“Not quite.”
“Just friends for now?”
“We are getting to know each other.”

“We’ve been married for 30 years. We first met in a hospital in New Hampshire and knew each other as friends for two years. Then I moved to New York, but we reconnected. I hitchhiked every weekend until she sent me a telegram: ‘Please, come to me. I can’t live without you.’”

I thought the story was nice, but still asked them my customary question about the key to a successful marriage. She launched into a heartfelt praise, describing how he was the most generous person she knew and how he wanted everyone around him to be happy.

“I guess I agree with that,” he said, “but I should also add: frequent and intense sex.”

Keeping the spirit of Easter alive.

“What do you think is your greatest accomplishment?”

“Let’s see. I’m 80 years old. I’ve lived and traveled all over the world — from Europe to Asia. I’ve climbed the Matterhorn — 14,690 feet tall. I’ve swam naked in Tahiti…But my greatest accomplishment? I am still learning.”

“I am from Germany, and he is from Mexico. We met here in Back Bay.”
“I made the necklace she is wearing. It’s Aztec.”

“The most important lesson? We just learned a lot of lessons. I’ve lived here for 50 years. I love Boston. When this happened, I just wanted to wrap my arms around it.”

“How long have you been married?”
“53 years.”
“What is the key to a successful marriage?”
“Understanding each other.”
“And flexibility.”

“I am a mime, magician, and my own muse. But right now, we are going to the memorial.”

“As a kid growing up in India, I always wanted to study in the U.S. When I turned 18, everything was ready — school paid for, all the preparations finished. But I must have looked worried, because my father asked me, ‘You always wanted to go to America. Why the long face?’ I was 18 and didn’t want to admit any weakness.”

“We’re coming back from a religious Hindu celebration.”

His wife said, “Write that he is ‘The Retired MIT Cowboy.’”

“As expectant parents, what are you looking forward to the most?”
“Finding out whether it will be a boy or a girl.”
“And doing the same things we do now but having a little one next to us.”

When I first noticed them they were walking fast and smiling widely. I hesitated and lost them in the crowd. When, a few minutes later, I spotted them again, they were all still smiling. I followed them from a distance for a few minutes, and they kept smiling. As I asked for their photo, they started to laugh. I fumbled my camera, it got stuck, and I just couldn’t take a picture. “Is it broken?” one of them asked, and they all burst into laughter. “Just bear with me for a minute,” I said, and they laughed even harder. “Why are you so happy?” I asked at the end, genuinely intrigued. Unfortunately, as one of them tried to give me this possibly life-changing answer, her words were drowned out by the loudest roar of laughter yet.

This guy was so much cooler than me that I lost my ability to ask questions.

At first, I was going to ask them what they found most attractive in each other, but as I asked for their photo they smiled, held hands, and stared at each other, seemingly oblivious to my presence. I felt that words would have been superfluous.

“Tell me something about yourselves.”
“We are sisters.”
“She is pregnant.”
“What is your favorite thing about each other?”
“She is pregnant.”

“He is nine weeks old.”

“Excuse me, may I take your photo? I am working on a project called Portraits of Boston…”
“And is this the part of the project called ‘The Ugliest Bostonians?’”

“I am a simple guy. I would like to get married one day. I want a simple life.”

“We just got engaged. We are getting married next year on the 11th anniversary of our first date.”

“After I retired at 65, I went to art school. I was in classes with 18- and 19-year-old kids! I got my second degree, and I now have a studio.”

“We met a year ago, but I soon had to go away for two months. We stayed in touch through letters.”
“Letters? In 2012?”
“Yes, letters. Actual snail mail.”
“And a lot of them.”

“We’ve been married 46 years.”
“Do you still remember how you first met?”
“Well, yeah, of course we do!!! We met at a dance party. I was wearing a long pinstripe suit and he saw the back of me and thought, I have to go talk to her. And he likes blondes.”

The average length of their marriages was nearly 50 years, so I thought they could answer authoritatively my question about the key to marital success. Their answers, however, diverged along gender lines. While the wives stressed the importance of conversation, the husbands’ emphasis on “keeping quiet” can best be summarized by this answer: “Whenever we start an argument I just give in.”

“I think it’s important to love people here and now.”

At first, she tried to hide behind the balloons, but once she realized how well they complement her outfit she raised them triumphantly in the air.

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