Just the Two of Us
Emily and I started dating a bit over two years ago, right before the summer of 2014. Within the first month of dating, I moved in with her. So, it only made sense to try our hand at traveling together, just the two of us.
Our first trip was to Chicago, we had an incredible time exploring the different cultural aspects to a complex but beautiful city. It quenched my thirst for new cityscapes and architecture to photograph, as well as some of the best museums, galleries and clothing boutiques to take inspiration from. The trip was a success and would open up our appetite to travel together, although it would be a while before we went off alone again.
Photos by Jalil Bokhari
Within the next year we went to New York twice with some friends — once to bring in the new year, and then once again for our friends’ show and birthday. By then we had our fair share of trips with friends, and exploring and photographing cities. Not to mention that the Canadian dollar had been getting worse with every trip and most cities weren’t affordable to begin with. I had spent my high school years, and then some, being immersed in nature in the West and by now had a deep longing to be around it again.
The plan was to head west into Alberta or BC, but as we made an itinerary towards the end of July it felt like a trip that would need more time. We came across pictures of Sedona and we looked up flights, it was half the cost and nothing like we had ever visited individually or together — it just all made sense. Neither of us had been, so it made for a perfect trip to plan out; over 10 days we went from Phoenix to Sedona, then on to Flagstaff, with a day in the Grand Canyon, and one in Vegas and some smaller destinations along the way.
Over the two years, three summers, along with these travels through America, the unmentioned day/weekend trips to areas within Ontario and Quebec, and even in just the daily life, I’ve managed to accumulate thousands of images of Emily.
It started the way anyone travels; documenting your significant other in beautiful scenes but over time she had become a muse in more than the traditional sense. She is a major part in my photo work whether it be in front of the camera or helping with edits, selections and crop choices. I believe being a true muse in this era is far beyond just having someone that inspires your work visually in terms of a beautiful subject one documents or wishes to showcase, but also having someone to collaborate with creatively and build ideas through; it’s about finding a critical voice and third eye that shows you what you can’t see and tells you what you might not want to hear.
Jalil Bokhari is a Pakistani photographer based in Toronto. He is currently exploring the combination of traditional techniques and motifs within contemporary photography and sculpture. You can see more of his work on his website or Instagram!