Ireland’s historic ‘Yes’ vote on the Marriage Equality Referendum was a signal of change and acceptance in a country known for its conservative history. As an active participant in getting the ‘Yes’ vote to pass, this was a special moment for Dublin-based photographer David Levingstone.
“The campaign was an amazing experience and witnessing the landslide ‘Yes’ vote being recorded was one of the best experiences of my life,” he said. “It has given LGBT people in Ireland permission to love ourselves and come out more comfortably and completely, some for the first time ever.”
Levingstone was eager to capture the excitement at the upcoming Pride Parade, especially since it was going to be the largest in the history of Ireland, with over 70 Yes Equality groups marching as well as dozens of other groups.
Levingstone decided to focus on some of the “New Irish” who have moved here from all over the world to represent the more open, multicultural society that Ireland has become. He enlisted a real-life Irish-Brazilian couple he had previously worked with to photograph that day.
“I really wanted to capture the sense of celebration,” Levingstone said. “The idea was to capture authentic moments. I had discussed fully with the couple the style and feeling I expected of them and they delivered it with great ease.”
Using a Nikon D800, he spent most of the parade shooting while walking backwards and trying to keep up with the flow of the 75,000 people marching. Despite this challenge, he was able to capture the electric atmosphere. One of his photos even ended up being featured in an MTV article that went viral on Upworthy.
“I really hope that the publicity and photographs like these will help communicate the reality and everyday normality of loving couples,” Levingstone said. “I hope it contributes, even in a small way, to the ongoing march of equality and respect, particularly in those parts of the world where discrimination and oppression are still rife.”