When a woman posted a series of photos to social media of her fiancé and his best friend last week, she had little idea how they would strike a chord with so many.
“How hilarious is this session?” said Kait Lewis, who recently launched her photo portrait service: Honeybee’s Photography. “My fiancé’s bestie came to town so I jumped at the opportunity to capture their *unique* friendship!”
The two men are both straight and have known each other since eighth grade. Lewis’ fiancé, Devon, is the one with the beard.
The men were photographed wearing similar clothing, holding hands, and pouring beer into each other’s mouths. Lewis added a lighthearted suggestion that beer company Busch sponsor the photos.
Within a couple of days, the photos had prompted thousands of reactions and comments.
Most applauded the shoot.
“This is definitely hilarious and I love it,” said one well-liked comment. “Don’t get caught up in the haterade — you don’t need their money and they wouldn’t give it to you anyway. Well done!!! BFFs are well worth documenting and your shoot production is spot on.”
“This is amazing!” said another woman. “My husband and his best friend would totally take photos like this because… surprise! They love each other and are comfortable in their sexuality.”
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Some questioned why Lewis had added a ‘viewer discretion’ warning at the start of her post.
“I LOVE these photos!” said one gay man. “It’s important to show two men can have a friendship like this and it be completely okay. Disappointed in the “viewer discretion advised”. I saw that you said you’re a family-friendly business, but if this were a male-female couple, or two female friends the advisory wouldn’t be there. As a gay man, I’m disappointed because it only perpetuates male physical contact as inappropriate which encourages fragile masculinity and homophobia.”
Comments like this prompted Lewis to add a clarification to her original posting.
“The viewer discretion was added because I am a family-friendly photographer and the sexual posing and alcohol needed to be warned to AVOID offending people. It has nothing to do with the genders.
“Everybody’s interpretation on what is sexual and what is not is very different. TO ME, some of the photos are out of my normal comfort zone, and that’s all that matters. I stand by the advisory and will not be removing it. I wasn’t anticipating this post to reach 6,000,000+ people in a matter of 2 days.
“This photoshoot was meant for fun. His bestie lives five hours away and we only see him a few times a year. We wanted to have a good time while he was visiting.
“If you are offended by ANY of this (the photos or the caption), feel free to keep scrolling!”
Some people began to post their own photos of straight men hugging or showing affection to their besties.
Lewis is based in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. She told Queerty she’s only been taking photographs for the past month.
“My fiancé and I are having an elopement-style wedding on top of a Mesa in Utah, and in looking for a photographer of our own, it sparked an interest for me! A few years ago I bought a DSLR as an impulse Black Friday buy but I never used it until now. After 23 years of having absolutely no talent, I think I’ve finally found my niche.”
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She says she met her fiancé a year and a half ago and, “fell in love immediately. We’ve since traveled most of the USA and plan to continue our life of travel for as long as we can. We have two dogs and a beautiful little home with a great view of the mountains. We just got engaged on June 12th, 2020, and are getting married on April 10th, 2021.”
She says she was “shocked” when the post went viral, but that she and her fiancé have enjoyed reading all the comments (over 13,000 at the time of writing). She believes it’s important to capture moments like this between friends and loved ones.
“I never anticipated so many people seeing Devon in daisy dukes. I mainly posted it to give our friends and family a good laugh. When the numbers kept rising and rising we were just in awe.
“We wanted to show that it’s perfectly okay to show intimacy with your best friend, regardless of your gender… and have a good laugh, because it was fun to do so!”
“Some objections of the photos included my caption in giving a “viewer discretion advised” warning. I have since edited my caption to explain the meaning behind this but I stood my ground, still believe it is necessary, and will not be removing it.
“People initially thought I added the advisory because the photos were of two men, which is not the case. I added the advisory because I am a family-friendly photographer. Some of the photos suggest oral sex positions, as well as include alcohol. I posted it to avoid offending anybody who may not want to view that. Since I’ve said this, people are still unhappy, saying that they don’t think some of the photos are sexual. To me, that is subjective … For the most part, the LGBTQ community has been so loving and supportive over the post.”
Unlike some photographers, Lewis also wanted to reassure people she’d be very happy to shoot same-sex couples and weddings.
“Absolutely!” she told Queerty. “People who refuse clients for any reason regarding who they love is beyond me. It’s baffling, disgusting, and downright ridiculous. The sex of the people getting married makes no difference to me.”