Matching Couples

Couples who wear matching clothes are a great subject for street photography. It’s touching to see this voluntary surrender of individuality, this visual statement of a pact between two human beings, whether they’re kith and kin, or just good friends.

I like to photograph couples in matching clothes because they immediately give the image “a point.” Whatever other qualities the photo may have, at least it’s not a random picture of two people walking down the street.

The onlooker (the person who views the image) can see that I’ve chosen this particular couple quite deliberately in preference to any others. And why? Because they have a vital correspondence between them which is expressed in a visual way. It gives them a back-story and it gives the photo some meaning.

A moment’s thought can explain the charm of a such a photo. Off-camera, before they hit the streets, the couple must have discussed the clothes they’d wear before making their final choice. What we’re seeing is not the result of coincidence.

In my featured image (above) the couple are wearing very distinctive tee-shirts in bright yellow with the words “Heroin Original” on them. I guess that’s a provocative brand-name, but it gives an already “gritty” street photo a bit more bite.

Complex Matching
The more elaborate the match, the more charming it becomes. My photo (below) shows two people in matching tee-shirts, with matching face-masks, worn under the chin in matching style. They’re both wearing similar sandals, but there the correspondence stops. The guy has a backpack; the girl carries a silver bag with Mickey Mouse ears.

Couple wearing trendy, matching tee-shirts

When people take matching to extremes, as done by the couple above, the effect starts to become somewhat calculated. The two people in question begin to take on a familial resemblance, like siblings rather than lovers. But why would brother and sister want to dress alike? That’s a mystery to me.

Whereas the “Army Couple” are matching in height as well as dress, in the photo below the guy is much taller than the girl. The Army tees wouldn’t look so good on them!

Couple wearing similar uniforms

However, they look much more like a couple, walking hand-in-hand, the guy carrying what is presumably his girl-friend’s bag as well as his own. There’s nothing deliberately calculated in their dress. It’s a uniform! We get a feeling they’ll change into clothes which fit their individual taste at the earliest opportunity.

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