Repost / 21st Century Family

 

Photographer Cass Bird and her partner, director Ali Bird, have known each other for half their lives. They first met in 1997 and, after numerous false starts (Ali: “aka drama”), they forged a partnership that has flourished for 14 years. They are not married, although they share a surname. Marriage is, in their view, “too easy.” (Cass: “Till death do us part? Try eternity.”) Nine years ago Cass gave birth to Leo, and 20 months later Ali begat Mae. “We wanted to start a family and buy a house,” says Ali. “We saved money. We did it. When gay marriage became legal, we had already made the biggest commitment.” Adds Cass, “It is important that we have the same dreams. What does it mean to be a good partner, a good citizen . . . two big, big things.”

Those two big, big things are evident in the photographs and videos the Birds share weekly with more than 134,000 followers on Cass’s Instagram. Cass Bird is known in the fashion world for her uniquely intimate, humorous, and complicit portraits of the famous and the beautiful. There’s an offhand honesty to her pictures that is both entirely intuitive and brilliantly considered. In the depictions of her children (Mae is “a force, a tornado”; Leo is “cautious, cerebral”) and her partner, these qualities are present in the extreme: Family life in all of its messy, wacky, repetitive, emotional wildness has never looked more riveting and gorgeous. Here are two moms who have an “equal desire to connect” with each other and their babies, and who believe that the strength of a relationship resides in one’s ability to reveal “the lonely part, the messy part” of the psyche, to share “what it looks like to be vulnerable.” Here are two wild-haired moppets who “defy all gender stereotypes” and are “sibling close,” which means “they confront each other on a cellular level 98 percent of the time—there is no neutrality.” Cass and Ali lay it bare, though sometimes too bare for the standards police of social media. The line between privacy and honesty is something that the couple negotiates together. “We fight about it, and I fight about it internally,” Cass says. “What is promoting beauty and freedom and what is potentially harmful? I know that bodies are easily sexualized; I am not naive. I think they are beautiful, strong creatures. My goal is that no one would ever sexualize their image.” Says Ali, “Cass is really aware of being a public figure who is gay and has the potential to affect other people who may feel they can’t have a child or a family.” Cass adds, laughing, “Can’t just everyone be naked?”

 

 

Full Spread Found Via Vogue.com HERE – photos by Cass Blackbird 

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