QUEER VOICES
02/14/2016 09:49 am ET Updated Feb 08, 2017

Love Is Lifting These Queer Couples Higher In Incredible Trick Photo Series

They've been swept off their feet!

For Valentine's Day, we wanted to attempt to visually represent the way that falling in love can mean seeing and experiencing the world in a totally different way. 

To accomplish this, Huff Post photographer Damon Dahlen ventured into the homes 14 different queer couples in New York City and shot their portraits but with a twist: at least one person in each photo is levitating.

"I have been shooting these types of images for about six years now and I
never get tired of making them," Dahlen told The Huffington Post. "It's like putting together a puzzle with so many variables in play that there is always that chance you may not get a photo! It's exciting! For this particular shoot I toyed with the idea that love doesn't fit in a box and by levitating the couples the photo itself also stayed true to this idea. Hence 'Lovatation' was born!"

Get to know each of the couples a little bit better and check out their incredible "Lovatation" photos below.

  • Stephanie, 28 & Karina, 27
    <strong>How did you meet?<br></strong>Stephanie (pictured&nbsp;not levitating):&nbsp;A little over four&nbsp;years ago, we we
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    How did you meet?
    Stephanie (pictured not levitating): A little over four years ago, we were introduced through a mutual friend on our way to a wedding. Although I was with my ex at the time, I remember seeing Karina and thinking "shit"... since she was so beautiful and I was immediately drawn to her.

    Karina: It was kinda love at first sight...when I first saw her at the port authority I said to myself, "Omglob...I'm a lesbian." No, but really I am...during the time I hadn't come out to anyone yet, but she definitely confirmed it. But throughout our 4 year awkward friendship, we both had girlfriends. Now fast forward to 2016 and we are getting married!

    How long have you been together?
    1 year

    What does love mean to each of you?
    Steph: What does love mean to me? It means having a partner in crime. It means having someone to lean on and having someone there to support and guide you in rough times. It's getting to sleep next to your best friend every night. It's every good part of love and fun you've ever felt growing up, from slumber parties, and inside jokes, to having mom take care of you when you're sick, rolled up into something even better.

    Karina: Love, to me, means having that one person who you can always count on... Someone who loves you for your flaws and imperfections... The one person who you can fart and burp around with and no matter what, they'll still think you're the sexiest person alive and will make you feel loved and wanted and not judged.
  • Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
  • Yasemin, 24 & Christina, 25
    <strong>How did you meet?<br></strong>Christina (pictured levitating): We met in Miami -- both of us had gone for last-minute
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    How did you meet?
    Christina (pictured levitating): We met in Miami -- both of us had gone for last-minute spontaneous vacations. I am from New York and Yasemin is from San Francisco. We matched on Tinder. Yasemin hopped in a cab and met me on the beach near my hotel at midnight and we literally talked for HOURS. We clicked instantly, and there was no question that when we left Miami we wanted to make the long distance work, so we did! 

    How long have you been together?
    We have been together for almost two years. 

    What does love mean to each of you?
    Christina: To me, love means perseverance, resilience, and devotion. It is accepting the person you love for who they are and growing with them, and in the process, learning things about yourself, too. At times, love forces you to be vulnerable and your own flaws become exposed, but through this process, you learn how to be a better person. Yasemin has bettered me in that way. It’s also when you see that person smile, and it makes you the happiest person in the world. 

    Yasemin: Love means caring for your significant other and treating them with respect. Love means admitting you are wrong at times and not always worrying about what is good for yourself. It means to be selfless and open to sharing parts of yourself whether they are good or bad. Love means you are not giving to receive, but giving because you want to make that person happy because it makes you happy.
  • Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
  • Jess, 35 & Sarah, 33
    <strong>How did you meet?</strong><br>Sarah (pictured levitating): We met through friends at a (now shut down) lesbian bar in
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    How did you meet?
    Sarah (pictured levitating): We met through friends at a (now shut down) lesbian bar in Park Slope almost 10 years ago!

    How long have you been together?
    We have been together for 3 and a half years.

    What does love mean to you?
    Jess: Love is finding a partner who knows who you are and still wants to have adventures with you.

    Sarah: Love is the safety, comfort and bliss of being with the person who knows you deeply and loves you completely.
  • Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
  • Daniel, 29 & Rishi, 29
    <strong>How did you meet?</strong><br>Dan (pictured levitating): We met in 2011 through mutual friends here in the city. I&nb
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    How did you meet?
    Dan (pictured levitating): We met in 2011 through mutual friends here in the city. I saw something beyond "just friends" in Rishi, pursued it, and the rest is history!

    How long have you been together?
    We have been together for 5 years as of March 2016.

    What does love mean to each of you?
    Dan: Love means being able to give your everything -- the good, the bad and everything in between -- to another and to oneself. Love is both an internal and external expression of emotion. It is both private and public. It enables us to experience the highest highs through life's ultimate joys and pleasures, while also opening us up the possibility of vulnerability and weakness. It enables us to feel just about every emotion along the spectrum that we've been able to come up with a word for. To me, that is truly living: to be in touch, and feel everything.

    Rishi: To me, love is the purest form of self expression; when you're in love, you're free to be your truest self, free of judgement. (Ok, mostly free of judgement!) And what more can you ask for? To be accepted and embraced as you are: the good and bad, the weird and wonderful, the quirks and flaws that make you unique.
  • Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
  • Iman, 34 & Jean-Manuel, 55
    <strong>How did you meet?</strong><br>Iman (pictured levitating): We met at David Barton Gym in December 2009.<br><br><strong
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    How did you meet?
    Iman (pictured levitating): We met at David Barton Gym in December 2009.

    How long have you been together?
    We have been together five and a half years.

    What does love mean to each of you?
    Iman: Giving my life to Jean-Manuel, feeling safe as we create a home and a family, living in total honesty to each other.

    Jean-Manuel: Waking up every morning with my first thought being about Iman, watching her asleep and wondering how I could make her life better.
  • Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
  • Marcos, 25 & Shawn, 40
    <strong>How did you meet?<br></strong>Marcos (pictured levitating)<strong>:&nbsp;</strong>It was very romantic, actually. We
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    How did you meet?
    Marcos (pictured levitating)It was very romantic, actually. We met online and our first date was at a local, favorite restaurant of ours that was halfway between him and me. I ended up getting food poisoning and proceeded to throwing up in front of Shawn. We've been together ever since. #KeepItClassyMarcos

    Shawn: I found Marcos at 1-800-babes.  After our third date he finally let me kiss him on the mouth and I knew then and there that he was the one.

    How long have you been together?
    Marcos: Depends on who you ask, but I think three months is an accurate assessment. ;)

    Shawn: 3 1/2 months

    What does love mean to each of you?
    Marcos: Caring and trusting someone so much that it makes you vulnerable. Whether it's a lover, a best friend, or your parents or siblings. Care, trust and vulnerability are common denominators of love. And loving someone selflessly, to me, starts with respect. When love is mutual, it leaves you feeling with a sense of safety and security, so being vulnerable becomes easy and not so scary.

    Shawn: For me, love is having someone in your life whom you trust completely, whom you want as a friend. Someone whom you suspect is a better person than you are and encourages you to be better than you are. Someone who challenges what you thought you knew and wanted while making you feel completely secure.
  • Amy, 36 & Regan, 38
    <strong>How did you meet?</strong><br>Regan (pictured levitating):&nbsp;Match.com (lol). Amy "winked" at me.<br><br><strong>H
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    How did you meet?
    Regan (pictured levitating): Match.com (lol). Amy "winked" at me.

    How long have you been together:
    Almost three years

    What does love mean to each of you?
    Amy: I wrote this to my love just recently. Love, to me, she is inspiration. I am in awe of her. I know her and she knows me and there is no wavering from it. Knowing I have lived, because I have finally found her, to me that is love. My love, my love, words cannot express how each glance at you fills me with such happiness. I love you. 
    Those words don't even begin to scratch the surface.
    My hopes were to find someone as amazing as you are.
    I never thought it was possible. But here you are. I love you.

    Regan: My response is best found at nynkasispeaks.com -- my personal outlet.  But in short what does loving her mean to me? It means raising our son together, all the corniest lines and cliches being true, it means there's no where else I'd rather be than dreaming in her arms, waking up to her kisses, it means smartass remarks and wrestling, puns and Sunday brunch, it means I have found home.
  • Wissam, 39 & Dana, 33
    <strong>How did you meet? <br></strong>Dana (pictured not levitating): Short version: We met on Grindr. One hookup led to ano
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    How did you meet?
    Dana (pictured not levitating): Short version: We met on Grindr. One hookup led to another, which led to dating and then love. Longer version: After a week or two of talking online, one freezing January night after leaving my friends at a bar, I worked up the nerve to ask Wissam if I could come to his place with the sole intention of hooking up. At that point I had had a little too much to drink and practically stumbled into his arms when he opened the door. Since it was freezing out, I was shivering so much I could barely talk so he lit a fire for me to warm up. I babbled about who knows what for 15 minutes then proceeded to pass out in his lap. He was a real sweetheart about it though, letting this drunk stranger sleep in his apartment for a bit. Of course I figured he'd never want to see me again, but when he asked me to hang out the next day, I knew that he was someone I wanted to spend a lot more time with.

    How long have you been together?
    We met a little over six years ago and were married in September 2013.

    What does love mean to each of you?
    Dana: Love is that person who laughs at all your silly jokes, your confidant, someone who you are always comfortable being around in any situation.

    Wissam: I'll stick with Dana's definition.
  • Kevin, 51 & Michael, 45
    <strong>How did you meet?</strong><br>Michael (pictured not levitating): I was on a business trip in Chicago where Kevin live
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    How did you meet?
    Michael (pictured not levitating): I was on a business trip in Chicago where Kevin lived at the time. We both happened to be on Tinder that morning and swiped right. We weren’t able to meet that day, however, and I returned to Chicago and we had lunch. Six months laters, having accumulated a lot of frequent flyer miles, we found ourselves in a UHaul moving Kevin’s stuff to New York.

    How long have you been together?
    22 months

    What does love mean to each of you?
    Kevin and Michael: For us love is about someone who you can grow spiritually with. Marriage is optimistic; a belief in the future. While you don’t know what the future may bring, you do know that you want to go forward with each other. That navigating life is much easier with two people committed to each other. You may not always agree on the details of how to reach your goals, or even the goals themselves, but you have committed to being two, facing in the same direction and working together.
  • Sarah, 23 & Mia, 24
    <strong>How did you meet?</strong><br>Mia (pictured at bottom): We met in college. We always had mutual friends and knew of e
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    How did you meet?
    Mia (pictured at bottom): We met in college. We always had mutual friends and knew of each other, but our worlds didn't properly collide until fall of senior year, when we exchanged upnods and started interacting on social media (retweets, Instagram comments, and the like). We traded numbers — via Instagram direct messaging — over winter break; three weeks, thousands of texts, and dozens of hours on FaceTime later, we came back to school for our final semester and were hooked.

    How long have you been together?
    We just celebrated our 2nd anniversary, so two years. 

    What does love mean to each of you?
    Love means wanting to do the hard work, and viewing the pain of compromise as important and necessary parts of a relationship.
  • Ryan, 26 & Matthew, 25
    <strong>How did you meet?<br></strong>Ryan (pictured levitating):&nbsp;We met in college, at Louisiana State University. We b
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    How did you meet?
    Ryan (pictured levitating): We met in college, at Louisiana State University. We both worked for the campus newspaper, and we met at "Chimes Night," a blowout party the paper puts on every semester. I spilled a drink all over Matt's pants, spent the rest of the night apologizing, and the rest is history.

    How long have you been together?
    We've been together six years. 

    What does love mean to each of you?
    Ryan: For me, love means partnership. It means Matt accepts that I hate cooking, so he makes all our delicious meals. It means I accept that he can't read a map to save his life, so I handle all navigational duties. Of course there's romance and affection and laughter, but I know that even when we're wrinkly and deaf, Matt will make my life better because he knows my weaknesses and instead of faulting me for them, he makes up for them. That's why I'm happy to call him my other half. 

    Matt: Keira Knightley wants the "To me, you are perfect" type of love. Nope. I want the "I love you, but you don't know what you're talking about" kind, like Sam in "Moonrise Kingdom." Because love is like grout, anyway -- it holds the cracks together. When a tile slips out of place, the other person patches it up. It takes time to learn how to do that, and I'm not sure we're ever quite done. But when you want to keep learning, like Ryan and I do, the union never breaks.
  • Alexandra Nicole, 22 & Nayeli, 24
    <strong>How did you meet?</strong><br>Alexandra Nicole (pictured levitating):&nbsp;Through a friend/ at school. Luckily, we e
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    How did you meet?
    Alexandra Nicole (pictured levitating): Through a friend/ at school. Luckily, we ended up in the same class. 

    Nayeli: Alexandra and I had a mutual friend that introduced us, and we never saw each other again. And then we ended up in the same class the next semester. I would save Alexandra a seat at the beginning of class but I don't think she realized this, so she would sit way on the other end of the room. We eventually started talking regularly and spent more time together as the semester went on. 

    How long have you been together?
    Almost three years

    What does love mean to each of you?
    Alexandra Nicole: Love is a feeling that evolves. Love is supporting the other person in every which way. Love is like living in a moment of spontaneous laughter and finding really good Mexican tacos in Brooklyn. Love is like getting lost in a good book and never wanting to leave. It's like Carla Morrison says in her song "Compartir": "Quiero aprender a entender al mundo contigo."

    Nayeli: Alexandra is probably going to tease me for saying this, but the only thing I can think of is that line in "Lovesong" where Robert Smith says "You make me feel like I am whole again." Love is a feeling of wholeness that comes from growing and learning together, supporting one another, and the sense of happiness you experience when adventuring and exploring the world with a person that you completely care for.
  • Parker, 21 & Cole, 23
    <strong>How did you meet?<br></strong>Cole (pictured not levitating): We met in college.<br><br><strong></strong><strong></st
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    How did you meet?
    Cole (pictured not levitating): We met in college.

    How long have you been together?
    Two years

    What does love mean to each of you?
    Cole: Smoking weed and watching "Bad Girls Club"

    Parker: Love is a balance of sharing in the joy of our similarities while challenging each other through the complexities of difference. It is as much a project of self as it is a project of partnership; it inspires security as much as it requires faith. Ultimately, love rewards, tests, and nurtures.

    That being said, in its truest form, love is truly just smoking weed and watching "Bad Girls Club" together.
  • Ryan, 34 & Cliff, 34
    <strong>How did you meet?</strong><br>Cliff (pictured levitating): Our paths kept crossing while in school in Arizona and the
    Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post
    How did you meet?
    Cliff (pictured levitating): Our paths kept crossing while in school in Arizona and then again in NYC.

    How long have you been together?
    8 years.

    What does love mean to each of you?
    Cliff: Love is a total understanding. A trust and a confidence in taking on life and succeeding in anything, no matter what, because of the strength in one another.

    Ryan: I agree that love is an understanding. Love is complete. Love is the unspoken. Love is the peaceful stillness while sitting next to each other without saying a word. Love is the smile on your face or the pep in your step on your way home from work, eager to share your day with each other. Love is unknown and limitless in direction and ever expanding. Love makes me smile.

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