|Robert Fass has traveled from Maine to Hawaii the last five years in
search of couples willing to reveal their secrets for staying married at
least four decades.
“No two stories are alike,” says the Manhattan-based photographer, actor
and writer. “But although every story is different, there’s something inspirational
about the commitment, stability and loyalty that all these couples demonstrate.”
His photography project, titled “As Long As We Both Shall Live: Long-Married
Couples in America,” can best be described as a labor of love for Fass
sparked by the passing of his father. It was on display recently at the
Hebrew Home For The Aged in Riverdale.
Fass, 43, had taken pictures of his parents four months before his father
died, and he exhibited them at the memorial service.
“People had a strong response to the photographs, as I did,” says Fass.
“And a couple of months later, another couple asked if I would do portraits
Having photographed 20 couples from various racial, economic and religious
communities, Fass is seeking 30 more for a book he’s working on with an
agent. His project has just been accepted into the fiscal sponsorship program
of the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Noting how “everything is contingent on funding,” Fass remains hopeful
that his book will have wide-ranging appeal, especially since “I’m trying
to cover as many perspectives as possible.”
Fass says he has received e-mails on his Web site, http://www.longmarriedcouples.com,
“from people all over the world who tell me their stories.” The e-mails
and his photographed subjects hail from a “certain time when by and large
marriage was what you did and there was a stigma attached to divorce. This
is the last generation to treat marriage as an indissoluble bond,” says
Fass is particularly moved that the 20 couples, one of whom has been
married for nearly 70 years, welcomed him into their homes.
“They opened up to a stranger and that’s taking a risk,” he says. “I
don’t take that for granted. I find tremendous value in these people and
in their stories. I love them all.”