Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Love won: How we chose this week's cover image illustrating the repeal of Amendment One

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 12:18 PM

In light of the history that was made last week with the repeal of Amendment One, Creative Loafing's creative director Melissa Oyler shares how she chose this week's cover image.

During the latter part of the week, our newsroom was alert with anticipation. We knew we were on the brink of a historic moment: The possible repeal of Amendment One was big news, and we needed to tell this story in a big way.

But like the rest of North Carolina, we had to play the waiting game for the judge's verdict. In the meantime, we talked about possible options for this week's cover. Do we go with something symbolic or something journalistic?

Not knowing what the story would look like photographically, we came up with the cover below on Thursday, should the news go the way we hoped it would: a heart, created with a satin rainbow, and two simple words. "Love won." We chose to keep the headline small, allowing the heart to shout the message that, finally, marriage equality had come to North Carolina.


But on Friday night, when the news broke that gay marriage was now legal, our photographers, who had been capturing the wait at the register's office, switched gears. It was celebration time. They headed to Cathode and 316 to capture the emotion of the great news.

It almost didn't feel real until Monday, though, at the Register of Deeds, when actual marriage licenses were issued to couples gay and straight. This was happening.

As the images started pouring in, I knew that the hardest part of my job would be figuring out which of the many amazing photographs should be on this week's cover. There were so many good ones. In fact, one of our favorites was a photo, taken by Grant Baldwin, of Joey Hewell and Scott Lindsley sharing the smooch that made us grin ear to ear. Boys, you captured our hearts with that one. We couldn't make the crop work for a cover, but we made sure to play it large inside the paper.

By press time, there were two potential photographs that stood out, not only telling the story visually but also with all the features that make a good cover (dominant image, sending a clear message, capturing a moment):

  • Photographed by Brhea Koneman

Brhea Koneman photographed Christina Ann and Amanda Eve Corvin, newly wed and sharing a sweet kiss, with a rainbow flag and supportive crowd flanking them. The tone is happy and alive with sunflowers and a white dress. Christina and Amanda's body language say it all: arms pulling each other tight, the two becoming one.

While Brhea's photo evoked the warmth and romance of a newlywed couple, this story was about more than just a happily ever after. We needed a photo that really illustrated the struggle that same-sex couples have fought just to be recognized in North Carolina.

And then this image came across my desk.

Terrence Hall and Christopher DeCaria were the first in line Monday morning to apply for a marriage license. They wed shortly after. News editor Ana McKenzie was there, and she got the shot that made us all tear up: Terrence and Christopher wrapped in each others' arms, their expressions clear with pure joy, true love and the relief that the fight was over. Terrence's wedding ring shines bright with one hand on Christopher's shoulder, the other on his heart.

Love won.

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