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5 Things This Philly Photographer Learned About Love Interviewing Strangers

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5 Things This Philly Photographer Learned About Love Interviewing Strangers

Within a few conversations, Anthony Page says he can tell if a couple is in it for the long haul or ready to break up. No, he’s not a superhero or a psychic—he’s a wedding photographer.

In his new video series, love, Paige, 33, of Brewerytown conducts personal interviews with locals about relationships. He started the project this year to branch out his photography and videography. Questions range from “who should pay for the first date?” to “what do you love about your partner?”

“I’m someone who has no problem going up to strangers,” he said. “But I always felt weird hearing my own voice in videos. However, people told me that I should show my own face so that people would know who I really am. I decided this was the year for it.”

So far, Page has posted about a dozen segments on his Instagram page, @antpagephoto. The goal, he says, is 100 episodes before the end of the year. (That’s actually how we met. Page approached me and my partner on a Saturday afternoon in Rittenhouse Square and turned our conversation into one of these segments.)

“I don’t think I’ll ever know if the series is done. I don’t do it for money. I’m just very curious about human relationships,” he said.

Why start a romance series?

By day, Paige is a local wedding photographer. He previously worked for Penn’s gene therapy program and earned a master’s degree in public health. But the love of photography, stemming from finding his father’s old Pentax camera years ago, had stayed with him. He went full time in 2021.

Page says that focusing on his craft has given him something of a Spidey feel when it comes to the pair’s future.

“I have a feeling when I photograph their wedding; I can tell if they’re going to last a year,” he said. “I’ve called three in my career that wouldn’t have made it. And I’m three for three.”

He said some of what got him started love is the fact that he is single.

“I am not married or in a relationship. I was engaged once, but it didn’t work out,” he said. “I’m getting a perspective here that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get otherwise.”

To shoot, Page explores popular public areas—Rittenhouse Square and Penn’s campus are some of his favorites. When deciding who to approach, he looks at their personal style. Whether they are alone, together or in a group, it doesn’t matter.

“I’m very surprised by people’s willingness to talk to me,” he said. “I still think there are a lot of nice people out there. People are willing to help and communicate as long as you approach them with kindness.”

Then it’s time for questions, which he gathers from a combination of personal experience, suggestions from social media and online research. He looks for topics he thinks will be polarizing, or talking points like, “Would you rather date a millionaire cheater or a broke loyal partner?”

“I was in an eight-year relationship and engaged for a year and a half. Some of these questions are concerns that I have struggled with myself,” he explained. “Being in the wedding industry, it’s interesting to ask couples tough questions about love.”

Page shoots the video with a tripod, sits in the frame and asks questions he has listed for himself on his phone. Finally, he takes a picture of the subject with his Leica camera — which he will send to the subject as a “thank you” when the video is published.

Page said she hopes the series will help others trying to find love or talk about their feelings.

“I want this to be not just my series, but everybody’s,” he said.

We asked Page about his top five takeaways from talking to strangers about love. Here’s what he said:

1. There is a lot of gray

“I learned that love is not just black and white. It is extremely complicated and complicated. Sometimes you may think that love is an easy concept, that everything is peachy. But it really isn’t.”

2. Links need monthly maintenance

“One woman I interviewed told me that it’s extremely important to have monthly meetings with your partner, even if it seems like nothing is wrong. Every month ask “is there anything I can do to help you or improve our relationship, or that I’m doing wrong or right?” – I think this is something I was missing in my own relationship. I didn’t communicate with my partner if I was going through something or upset about something.’

3. When you find your man, don’t hesitate

“I asked a colleague of mine ‘when did you know you were in love with your partner?’ He said he and his now wife met at a pride parade. They both thought the other was gay so they did nothing. But they were extremely attracted to each other. Their mutual friends eventually connected them. Within a month, they fell in love. A year later, they got married and now have three children. It shows you that love has no time or place. It can happen at any time. For me in my dating life this is something I thought I would have a clear moment. But it showed me that when you find the right person, sometimes you just know – and you have to.”

4. People are nice

“I would never expect a stranger to talk to me about his intimate relationships and feelings. It’s interesting how open people really are when it comes to love. It shows how open we all are to finding and keeping that love – even if it means talking to someone they’ve never met.”

5. Everyone wants to feel loved

Sometimes people will struggle with this, but at the end of the day, everyone wants to feel loved. “I know this because of how engaged viewers were with my series. They leave comments, send me messages, ask their questions and want to learn how to improve their own relationships. But every time I approach a stranger with an initial question and tell them I want to talk about love, they get excited. It shows me that people are intrigued and want to feel that closeness, to be loved, or to find it.”

Looking for love? ❤️ Check out our guide to love in Philly

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