Just in time for the calendar day of love, we have an interview with the lovely Julius D. High about his social project Love: The Pathway of the Heart. In 2016, High set out with an Instax Mini camera to photograph people and ask what their interpretation of love is. Since beginning the project, he has garnered the perspectives of folks in Atlanta, New York, and Los Angeles and Love… was also featured in Dazed. I was already familiar with High and this project after we took a class together (coincidentally, we have the same major and minor). After being introduced by a mutual friend, I was even photographed for Love… and appreciate what the project represents. So, without further ado, here is a peek into the pathway of the heart.
S: Why did you decide to do this project? What made you choose love?
J: I was inspired to do this project because of heartbreak. I was in a really bad relationship about 3 years ago that brought me a lot of sadness, a lot of grief. And my friends led me to happiness again. My friends were like lights – through all the darkness and turmoil, whatever was going on in my life, they were always there shining and bringing me back to reality. I just found love in my friends.
S: What is the significance of the name?
J: When I was younger, I was obsessed with Kingdom Hearts and the whole concept of light, hearts, and memories. From there, I came up with the analogy of love being the pathway of the heart because love is what guides us. Love is what makes us realize what we are doing whether it’s right or wrong.
S:What about Love do you believe is special?
J: I believe that love is special because it’s in all of us in some way, shape, or form. You receive it, you reciprocate it, it flows around – whether that’s romantic, familial, from friendship, from your passion, your creativity, your drive, whatever that may be, love is in different forms.
S: Love is kind of the root of it all?
J: Yeah, it’s an energy.
S: Why do you believe your project about Love is important?
J: Not only is it important to me wanting to know what other people think about love, but just to convey that there are so many different interpretations of love. The first thing that comes to people’s minds when you hear love may be romantic, it may be familial, it may be friendship, passion – like I said before. But, you never know until you ask that person really. When you ask them, you get different responses – people automatically jump to something. It may be one of the forms just mentioned. I also want to know what love means to people of different ages, races, backgrounds, classes, sexual orientations, genders. That’s why I feel like it is important for me to travel and get that global intuition of what love means.
S: Has this project taught you anything about love? Has it changed your perception of love in any way?
J: Definitely yes. When I first started out, I was very obsessed over the concept of romantic love. Someone loving me in more of a romantic way. By doing this project, I’ve realized that love is everything. It’s not just romantic – romantic love comes and goes. It’s important to realize that it’s not the only thing, that it shouldn’t be your aspiration for someone to love you romantically. You have friends, you have family, you have other things.
S: What are your thoughts on Valentine’s Day?
J: Valentine’s Day should be every day!
S: Do you have a favorite quote from the project to date?
J: I have a friend in California named Jerrod La Rue and he had a quote that really stuck with me – all of them stick with me. But this one really; he was saying you can find love in the ocean, in the sunset – you can find love in so many different places. And that was the beginning of my project, so that was really a wake-up call. Like, wow, people really do get love from more than one source; it’s versatile.
S: What are your long term goals for the project?
J: I’d like to finish traveling the world and find out what everyone thinks about love – well, about as much people as I can get to. Traveling is one of my passions. This is probably gonna be a lifelong project.
S: Is there a song that accompanies/captures this project perfectly?
J: “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is” by Irma Thomas. I love that song; it’s more of a romantic song but it’s just so beautiful.
S: Anything else?
J: Look out for a special surprise [relating to the project].
All photos by Julius D. High. Special thanks to him for doing this interview.