We Are The Rhoads Stay Loving
This past weekend saw the opening of “Loving” a new movie based on the events that lead to The Supreme Court’s decision in Loving v Virginia that legalized interracial marriages in the United States. The film was directed by Jeff Nichols, someone whose work Sarah and Chris Rhoads of We Are The Rhoads have always admired. They were going to see the movie anyway. But when The Hollywood Reporter called them up and invited them to an early screening to inform a cover shoot with the two stars of the movie they leapt at the chance. “We were already intrigued by the subject matter,” says Sarah. “The movie is politically motivated but not done in a political way at all. It’s very emotional, personal, art driven.”
The center of the movie is the relationship between Richard and Mildred Loving, played by Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, so the Rhoads got access to these two actors to photograph them outside of the world of the movie. Normally as photographers, Chris and Sarah have the tough job of coaxing out honest relationships and truthful moments. But this time that challenging work was easy. “Sometimes you work with actors that maybe don’t get along that well, but there was such a comfort level that Joel and Ruth already had. Normally that’s something that we’re trying to create,” explains Chris. “They had a natural rapport with one another already – they were almost inviting us into that space instead of the other way around.” Photographers are used to creating a space and then guiding their subjects through new relationships, but this time the Rhoads walked into Negga and Edgerton’s world.
The two actors are the focus of every frame, but there’s more to composition than just two people. The Rhoads traveled all over LA to provide the right backdrop and to give the relationship context. To make that happen Sarah and Chris started with the relationship: “Let’s play to the fact that their relationship in this film is that they’re a couple but we don’t want to be too obtuse about it. Let’s find something that looks like Virginia but isn’t Virginia. Has that sort of feel of the film without being too on the nose about it.” They ended up finding a porch in West Hollywood that worked perfectly, and had the right interior to boot, adding just the right flavor to fill out the story.