1. Meet Harrison Bach and Jacqueline Martin, two 22-year-olds who dated for three years before breaking up a little over a year ago.
Bach said Martin’s move from their Detroit-area hometown to Los Angeles was “the first catalyst to all their problems” and “turned into the whole nine yards of everything that could go wrong.”
“What started as just distance turned into like 10 other things,” he said. “It just got brutal.”
2. Still, because their families are close, the two still see each other every now and then and are on good terms.
“Being that we were each other’s first significant others, first lovers, first all of that, there’s a weird sense of nostalgia,” he said.
“When we go home, what feels more normal than just seeing that person you spent all your time with?”
3. When the two were home this past New Year’s Eve, Bach got a “quirky idea.” He wanted to do a breakup photo shoot.
Bach said he got the idea from seeing friends in long-term relationships do photo shoots together and thought a breakup shoot would be “ironic and funny” and “artistic.”
“I got the idea, ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting to use that same setting everyone uses for their happy relationship photos in terms of after the relationship?’” he said.
Martin was “on board with the idea of trying to do something artsy” and agreed right away, he said.
4. Bach said the photo shoot, which he shot with a self-timer, wound up being unexpectedly emotional.
“It’s something that reignited the feelings. We’re doing better now, but it kind of made me relive the breakup. It brought it all back,” he said.
“That wasn’t my initial intention, but I’ve been feeling that all day,” he said. “It’s been kind of hard.”
5. The photos went viral after one of Bach’s classmates shared it on Twitter.
It also got nearly 20,000 retweets on another account.
6. And it’s been received…well, not exactly as intended.
9. Okay, REALLY not as intended.
12. Bach said the public reaction was completely different from the “surprisingly positive feedback” he got when his friends saw it on Facebook.
“They instantly related to the images. They saw themselves, as opposed to seeing me, if that makes sense,” he said. “It was really neat because I never intended that. I originally thought this is ironic, this is funny, and it ended up being an emotional rollercoaster for everyone.”
But he’s fully aware that most people don’t feel that way.
“I see where they’re coming from,” he said. “But for me, to be around her, it became such a personal thing more than I cared what everyone else thought.”
13. Martin told BuzzFeed News that Bach “is probably my best friend in the entire world” and the photo shoot with him “felt like slipping back into something so comfortable and warm.”
“Detaching from the whole process at the end was very hard,” she said. “Not falling back in love with someone takes extreme practice and patience, and when I look at these pictures, I am reminded so vividly of every single thing about him I fell in love with, and every little thing I did wrong.”
“These pictures are proof to me that romantic love can evolve beyond pain, suffering, and passion into something freeing and full of ease. I think it’s awesome that people are reacting to these pictures, and am so proud of Harrison for putting them into the universe. He’s awesome,” she said.
14. And the feelings seem to be mutual. Bach said he doesn’t rule out that they might still be together if it weren’t for the distance.
“Us in the same area is a really good thing,” Bach said. “The emotions I get when I hang out with her are that of the first year we were dating, like the honeymoon period. I think if we were in the same region, and were able to spend more than two weeks together, who knows what it would turn into.”
15. Even so, Bach said he now sees why so many people are ripping on them for the shoot.
“Looking at it now, I guess it is a little weird,” he said. “Like why would she be OK with doing that? We clearly don’t look happy. Why the hell would we do this?”
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