<p>"Years ago on assignment for <i>National Geographic</i> magazine, I traveled eastward on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, traversing the Ural Mountains. It was a time when U.S.-Russian relations were improving and Westerners were welcomed with open arms. The passengers on the train had been informed about my mission to photograph on the train and had been asked for their support. After a couple of days most passengers, many of them long-distance travelers like me, were quite used to the sight of me with my cameras. A couple that occupied the compartment next to me had always given me warm smiles, but we had not found a chance to talk. One day, on my way back to my compartment, through the closed compartment door, I could see them engaged in a lovely conversation. I assumed they possibly were newlyweds in love. I signaled them to please not move. For a short while, I became the proverbial fly on the wall, silently witnessing tender, flirty moments unfold in front of my camera. When I quietly left, they barely took notice. A day later the young man was gone, and an elderly couple occupied the compartment with the young lady. Only then did I learn that the couple I had photographed had just met on the train. I did not ask more … I wanted to believe in the fleeting moments of love I had seen through my camera. But was my impression real? I will never know."</p> <p> —<i>Gerd Ludwig</i></p>

"Years ago on assignment for National Geographic magazine, I traveled eastward on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, traversing the Ural Mountains. It was a time when U.S.-Russian relations were improving and Westerners were welcomed with open arms. The passengers on the train had been informed about my mission to photograph on the train and had been asked for their support. After a couple of days most passengers, many of them long-distance travelers like me, were quite used to the sight of me with my cameras. A couple that occupied the compartment next to me had always given me warm smiles, but we had not found a chance to talk. One day, on my way back to my compartment, through the closed compartment door, I could see them engaged in a lovely conversation. I assumed they possibly were newlyweds in love. I signaled them to please not move. For a short while, I became the proverbial fly on the wall, silently witnessing tender, flirty moments unfold in front of my camera. When I quietly left, they barely took notice. A day later the young man was gone, and an elderly couple occupied the compartment with the young lady. Only then did I learn that the couple I had photographed had just met on the train. I did not ask more … I wanted to believe in the fleeting moments of love I had seen through my camera. But was my impression real? I will never know."

Gerd Ludwig

Photograph by Gerd Ludwig

Photographers Capture Love in 8 Heartwarming Photos

Nat Geo photographers reflect on their favorite images of love and the unique stories behind them.

Eight National Geographic photographers share an image they took that captured love. From a train compartment on the Trans-Siberian Railway and public showers on a beach in Rio de Janeiro to quiet morning moments back home in a familiar bedroom, here are their images of love and the stories behind them.

Read This Next

Can science help personalize your diet?
Hogs are running wild in the U.S.—and spreading disease
Salman Rushdie on the timeless beauty of the Taj Mahal

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet