Modern Day Fairy Tale

SAP ALERT!!

As many of you know, I like to “play with pictures”. I typically phrase it like that because as with most things in my life, I’m winging it as I go. Flying by the seat of my pants. I’m not a professional photographer – far, far from it! And I’m not a graphics wiz either. I have some amazing tools of the trade at my disposal though and sometimes I figure out how to marry the two things.

Yes, there is a whole community and profession devoted to nothing except digital enhancement of photography with every nuance of both aspects that can be imagined. I try to be realistic in my expectations of myself. Pretty sure I will not be re-inventing the wheel and there will always be somebody who is much better than I am, even at the level of “hobbyist”, where I am.

All that being disclaimed, I LOVE LOVE LOVE playing with pictures! I love shooting them, I love enhancing them, and I love being creative with them. And I understand that what is a cool, new, shiny thing to me is probably something that’s been done a hundred times over, but I’ve never heard of it. So my friends often send me links and websites that tie into this interest with notes like, “I saw this guy’s work and thought you might like it” or “Check out this girl’s work!! I saw it and it reminded me of yours!”

Last week, I got one of those emails from Michele, who often runs across cool stuff like that as an artist tied into an artistic community. While I loved the pictures, it was the story behind it that grabbed me. I had to go back through blog posts and Flickr pics, reading the blurbs about each before the whole picture began to come together in my head. I’ve even viewed the videos that were part of the story! After all that, I realized that I could’ve just read about it! (Note: I usually go the long way around anything before I realize there’s a simple way!) It was covered in The Philippine Daily Inquirer and it’s easier to paste it here than re-tell it!

A Modern Day Fairytale

A Modern Day Fairytale

A Modern-Day Flickr Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, two people found their way to the photo-sharing website Flickr.com.

Fate

Call it fate—24-year-old designer and photographer Aaron Nace and 17-year-old student and part-time waitress Rosie Hardy found each other’s photos on the same day. Rosie’s friend Natalie showed her Aaron’s 365 Days Project self-portraits. “I was so, so, so impressed and made a mental note to add him as a contact when I got home,” Rosie said.

She didn’t know it yet but Aaron had already found her then. “Upon seeing her images I just had to send her a message, it was like we had the same brain,” Aaron said.

And when Rosie got home, she discovered that Aaron had posted a comment on one of her photos and he had added her as a Flickr contact. “I was over the moon!” she said.

They clicked instantly.

Rosie loved Aaron’s playful sense of humor, the way he laughed at himself and how he wasn’t afraid to look silly. “I loved all his expressions and simultaneously loved how he could produce shots full of darkness and raw emotion—something I find incredibly captivating in photography,” she said.

Aaron thought Rosie had an amazing mind. “She has a special way of seeing the world and it all comes out in her photographs. No one can deny she is very special,” he said.

There was just one problem though: Aaron lived in Chapel Hill in North Carolina, USA, while Rosie was from Buxton, Derbyshire, England. But Aaron and Rosie didn’t let the distance get in the way.

The two started exchanging Flickrmails. Aaron said, “It became obvious quickly that we got along very well. We started writing to each other three times a day.”

“I asked him what our first date would be like. He then went on to write the first of many adventure episodes we write to each other,” Rosie said.

Writing adventures

Through their written adventures, even before meeting each other, Aaron and Rosie had “swum to the bottom of the ocean, dragged a giant singing clam to the shoreline and been abducted by small hairy men, swung through a jungle and jumped off cliffs to be taken by birds to huge rock towers with big yellow super slides, dressed in Batman and French maid costumes (Aaron was the maid, Rosie said) and defeated evil, built their own house filled with monsters, flown to make-believe lands of lego-men in a spaceship and risked our lives to save each other.”

Writing those adventures meant a lot to Rosie. “Writing those stories and writing about each other’s characters before we knew the other person really proved how alike we were. His imagination completely captivated me from the start—all I wanted was to be inside his mind.”

Aaron felt the same way. “Somewhere through our adventure I was positive this was the girl I wanted to be with. The first time we spoke on the phone was the most amazing feeling i have ever had in my life. and every day since has been more amazing,” he said.

The two started chatting on Gmail and exchanging YouTube videos.

(*NOTE: The videos is almost 10 minutes long and contains some language some might find offensive. Given the circumstances, I find it to be priceless. 😉 PG16 for language)

Then Aaron started calling Rosie every night through Skype and they exchanged text messages all the time. “We talked for at least three hours a night and it is not uncommon for us to fall asleep on the phone together,” Aaron said.

Blooming romance

They first exchanged “I love you’s” during a Gmail chat. “I felt it was time to just jump out on a limb and I wrote I love you. It took her a second to respond, but she said I love you in return. I smiled for days,” Aaron said.

Rosie added, “I’d never told a guy I loved him before, so it was pretty big for me.”

Their romance bloomed before the eyes of the Flickr community. Soon, they were posting photos that were veiled love letters. Rosie uploaded an image of herself in a box with the caption, “Please Mr. Postman, Could you do me a favor? There’s somewhere I want to be.” Meanwhile Aaron made bold declarations of love with his images.

They also started working on a series of photographs which they called Collaboration Sundays, photos that were shot individually and edited to make it appear as if they were together.

Aaron soon announced that he was flying to see Rosie. “I knew from the second I first saw her photos that I would meet this girl, providing she didn’t think I was a total loser. Buying a plane ticket was something I didn’t even think twice about,” he said. Countless people online waited with bated breath for that day.

Face to face

1st photoshoot in person

1st photoshoot in person

It finally happened a couple of weeks ago. Three months after they first met online, Rosie and Aaron finally saw each other face to face.

Rosie talked about that day. “I was incredibly nervous! Me, my mum and my dad drove to Manchester Airport to pick him up and I was shaking like a leaf! Not because I doubted who I was about to meet, but because I felt like I needed him in my life so badly and I couldn’t bear to lose him. Obviously people look different in real life to how they do in their photos, so there was always that small thought in my mind that he would be disappointed in me. Luckily, he wasn’t at all!”

Aaron added, “It was amazing, I was nervous, but I was pretty sure everything would work out, within minutes it was like we have been around each other for a lifetime.” Aaron will stay with Rosie in England for 17 days. They’re trying to do everything they can together—go to an amusement park, visit a zoo, watch shows, go kayaking, explore the country side, have a picnic and watch movies.

Rosie believes that they’ve made the best memories doing regular things, like “making breakfast together and having him chase me round the kitchen, waiting for a train at 11 p.m. and deciding to slowdance on the platform, going on an ice cream hunt in the middle of the night and walking through the town singing Disney songs at the tops of our voices!”

Aaron said, “We also have spent plenty of time just staring at each other in disbelief that all this is real.”

And together, they take lots of photos. Aaron and Rosie are very creative on their own and together they are even more so. They are currently in the middle of a self-portrait project featuring the seven deadly sins. The images they produce are surreal, occasionally creepy but always beautiful.

Everything

When asked what they love about each other, they had the same answer—everything.

Rosie said, “Everything. His silly faces in the morning, his silly accent, his silly crazy mind. I love how he not only accepts me for who I am, but loves me for it and inspires me to be a better person. I love how he sees me without makeup, hair a mess and still tells me he thinks I am the most beautiful girl in the world. I love how he makes positive out of everything, and thrives off his bad experiences. I love his honesty, his compassion and his thirst for life. I love how he is crazy to live and crazy to love.”

“If you’ve met her you wouldn’t be asking this question,” Aaron said. “Everything. She is the most amazing person I have ever and will ever meet. Period.”

Worldwide support

The Flickr community continues to watch their story unfold, every photo they post is received with so much warmth.

Aaron and Rosie have been amazed at the support people online have shown them. Aaron said, “It’s really amazing. It is hard to believe at times that so many people support us. Some have even said we have renewed their belief of love, I can’t think of a bigger honor. It really feels as though the whole world is cheering us on, how could everything not be perfect with support like that?”

Rosie said, “It’s outstanding. Incredible. The way other people have come together has really proved that love can overcome everything—age, 4500 miles, online relationships—not us. We have proved that we can overcome it as a couple, but the way people have reacted has shown that anybody at all can. And for that reason, these people have changed my attitudes about love and life, most definitely for the better.”

Their own families have been giving them the same kind of encouragement.

Supportive parents

Aaron’s parents have been very supportive. “My parents are absolutely in love with Rosie, I am pretty sure they would kill me if I didn’t marry her,” Aaron said.

Rosie’s parents feel as passionate about Aaron. “Age-gap wise, they were completely fine with it,” Rosie said. “My parents are 13 years apart. Aaron made them videos to introduce himself to them and they saw his photos all the time and saw how happy he made me. Of course, they were happy for us. Now that they met him, they adore him! My mum loves talking to him and my dad has told him that he wants his wardrobe.”

Plans

“Now that I am here, I never want to leave,” Aaron said.

Although the two will be saying temporary goodbyes soon, they are busy making plans for the future.

“We’re planning on getting me through college this year and onto university next year,” Rosie said, “then he’ll come here to live with me and we’ll get engaged at some point then. After I’ve finished uni, we’re planning on moving back to the US and setting up a business, and setting up a home—so marriage will be on the cards then.”

“The wedding will come within a year of our engagement, and we plan on getting engaged when we can live together. Hopefully everything will happen as we dream it will,” Aaron said.

One thing’s for sure—this is going to be one story they can tell their grandkids over and over again.

Visit Aaron and Rosie on Flickr.

Being a romantic at heart, this was equivalent to an afternoon of romantic comedies, except that unlike a movie, this story is still ongoing. Which means I can continue to follow it virtually, for as long as Rosie and Aaron are willing to share it with the world!  You can also follow their adventures on their blog, ARF (Aaron Rosie Fotography).

Sweet Dreams and Happy Things,

Yours in peace and sappiness,

~me

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One Response

  1. that is sooooo romantic. gonna check their blog out!

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