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The Open Photo Project

Erika Kapin | United States

Kevin and Antoinette getting dinner at Uno's

The Open Photo Project uses photography, audio and text to present the beautiful, complex lives of consensually non-monogamous people. 

By showing the domestic details, hobbies, and daily activities, this project offers a look at the uniqueness of human relationships.
It is an invitation to re-examine preconceived notions of successful, sustainable, and healthy romantic love. 

Five years ago, my spouse and I opened up our previously monogamous relationship.  As I slowly come out of the closet about my own consensually non-monogamous relationships, and as I get to know the polyamorous community, I find non-monogamous folks often experience a range of negative assumptions when talking with people about their open relationships.  

Adults who love differently from the monogamous ideal often face social stigma, workplace discrimination and legal repercussions. Many polyamorous people have lost custody of their children, have been fired from their jobs and have been rejected by their families because of their relationships.  Because of this, many with this relationship orientation are forced to remain closeted and present socially as monogamous. 

This photography project confronts the mainstream social landscape that believes monogamy is the only ethical relationship style.  By photographing non-monogamous people in a variety of their everyday activities, I seek to present them as the complex, multi-dimensional human beings that they are.  Whether cooking a meal, on the way to work, or naked with a partner, these images reveal the complex lives of these people and their choices.   A combination of portraits, daily life activities and text excerpts from conversations will show an in-depth look into their lives and relationship choices.

My goal is to confront the broad misconceptions that exist in the mainstream social landscape where monogamy is the default relationship style (and the only one universally considered ethical).  In addressing people who believe that monogamy is the only acceptable relationship model to cultivate healthy romantic love, I wish to introduce them to the beautiful, complex and fulfilling lives that are possible among non-monogamous people.

This project offers a look at the uniqueness of human relationships and an invitation to re-examine preconceived notions of successful, sustainable, and healthy romantic love.  It strives to de-stigmatize ethically non-monogamous relationships by building understanding and empathy.  The aim is for more people to accept that while monogamy is a valid relationship choice, there is a wide spectrum of other equally valid choices that can be as varied as the human experience.

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