“When you loved someone and had to let them go, there will always be that small part of yourself that whispers, “What was it that you wanted and why didn’t you fight for it?” – Shannon L. Alder
“I used to think that I could never lose anyone if I photographed them enough. In fact, my pictures show me how much I’ve lost.” – Nan Goldin
Between the holidays and the start of the new year, I’m reminded of the absurdities of life. Sure, the holidays foster a togetherness not often seen during other times of the year, but in that same sense there can be an overwhelming feeling of loneliness. The question of “so, when are you going to start dating again” rings in my ears like a bad song that repeats over and over in my most vulnerable moments. I’m normally able to shake off these intrusions, but there’s something about Valentine’s Day that makes me exceedingly bitter, uninspired, and, most of all, unloveable. (At least I can binge on candy hearts.) I’m sure I’m not alone here.
I ended a long-term relationship with a live-in boyfriend a few years back that clearly had no future. This decision required me to uproot my life in ways I hadn’t quite counted on, and to this day I’m still crashing at my parent’s place in an attempt to save oodles of money so I can live on my own again one day. If I’m being transparent, I lamented love’s ending probably longer than I should have (yes, I’m a wallower, so sue me), and my breakup became a twisted inspiration for my writing. Fast forward to today, and a topic that once gave me the fuel to get words on the page has me suddenly stricken with writer’s block. This must be the closure my therapist always talks about. Once you’ve fully removed yourself from the thing that causes you immense anxiety, you’re able to accept what you cannot change, and that feeling of loss morphs into victory knowing that you overcame one of the most difficult periods of your life.
Moving on from the oversharing of my personal life (yikes), this experience taught me that both love and loss are two sides of the same coin. Sometimes loss comes in the form of goodbye. Sometimes love is the hello that replaces that goodbye. Sometimes the love showered on you from platonic sources gives you what you need to survive. Sometimes you have to come to terms with loss that can’t be replaced. Sometimes you have to move on to move forward.
Photography – Stephanie Stein
Model – Sonya Mauldin
Clothing – Flynn Skye
Styling – Kristen Milford
Hair Stylist – Michelle Atwood
Makeup Artist – Sheila Clare Walsh
Set Design – The French Eclectic
For this issue, we want you to explore what “Love and Loss” means to you, using the medium of your choice. Here are some examples of work we’d be interested to see:
- Fashion editorials representing iconic characters from romance films or books
- Themes of adoration, relationships, rejection, devastation, depression, grief, acceptance, rebirth, romance, selfishness, selflessness, agony, regret, sensuality, heartbreak, and recovery
- Imagery of hearts, flowers, chocolates, and other typical romantic icons depicted in non-traditional ways
- Personal experiences of loss, whether major or minor
- An essay exploring the sexist roots of marriage and whether marriage has rightfully been reclaimed
- Op-eds about the overwhelming depiction of cishetero relationships in media
- An essay depicting the importance of platonic relationships
- Interviews with (ex) lovers, psychologists, matchmakers, and other love gurus
- Valentine’s-inspired makeup or nail tutorials
- Personal experiences of a sexual awakening
- Essays exploring the solace of solitude
- DIY party-planning ideas for anti-Valentine’s Day
- A cure for heartbreak playlist
- City guides and travel tips for those vacationing solo
- Thoughts on this generation’s move away from monogamy
Here are some other topics we’d be interested in featuring that aren’t affiliated with this month’s theme:
- Fashion editorials featuring color palettes such as reds, pinks, and whites
- Essays in honor of Black History Month
- Nutella-inspired editorials for World Nutella Day (February 5)
- Essays discussing the Chinese New Year
- Editorial inspired by National Love Your Pet Day (February 20)
As a reminder, we refuse to publish graphic images or language including but not limited to pornography, promotion of illegal activities, or hate speech as well as any depictions of self-harm or other forms of gratuitous violence. The deadline for all submissions is January 31, and all submissions can be sent to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Full submissions guidelines and submission form can be found here.
Looking forward to seeing your work!