Pictures: An Estonian couple, in their 90s, deeply in love

An Estonian couple, Linda and Uno, who first met in 1946, met again and fell in love while both in their late 80s in 2014; now in their mid-90s, the couple is still deeply in love; Alina Birjuk, a photography student at the Estonian Academy of Arts, shows through this photo report that true love can knock someone over no matter their age.

The first time I met Linda and Uno was in the autumn of 2020. I was walking home and saw the two lovers and decided to take a quick photo of them on my phone. I knew in that instant that I wanted to get to know them better.

After posting a picture of them on Instagram (I like to share my daily street photography), a friend of mine contacted me and told me it was his grandmother on the picture – and later put me in touch with the couple.

Uno and Linda conducting their everyday lives in their flat in Tallinn. Picture by Alina Birjuk.

Uno and Linda were happy and open to collaborate with me. Being around them and getting to know their story felt refreshing and inspiring. I could let go of the idea that it’s only young people who can fall in love head over heels. I realised true love can knock someone over no matter their age.

Linda and Uno, happily in love. Picture by Alina Birjuk.

Uno and Linda fell in love in 2014, when Linda asked Uno out on a coffee date. They had met before – in 1946, at a university. But their time together there was limited. Uno got kicked out after a year, whereas Linda completed her studies.

Uno and Linda conducting their everyday lives in their flat in Tallinn. Picture by Alina Birjuk.

After many years, and both becoming widows, they met again at a close friend’s funeral in 2014. Linda offered that the two should go out for a drink and they ended up going to hers. They got to know each other again, over coffee, cognac and sweets. After talking for what it seemed like days, they parted again with only a hug.

Uno and Linda conducting their everyday lives in their flat in Tallinn. Picture by Alina Birjuk.

Three weeks later, Uno invited Linda to his place, to return the favour. After two evenings spent together, the couple realised how much they enjoyed being around one another. From then on, they’ve been inseparable.

Linda and Uno, both in their mid-90s, have been inseparable since they fell in love in their late 80s. The couple’s bedroom in their flat in Tallinn. Picture by Alina Birjuk.
Linda and Uno, both in their mid-90s, have been inseparable since they fell in love in their late 80s. Bookshelves at the couple’s living room in their flat in Tallinn. Picture by Alina Birjuk.
Linda and Uno, both in their mid-90s, have been inseparable since they fell in love in their late 80s in 2014. The couple’s kitchen table in their flat in Tallinn. Picture by Alina Birjuk.

“The older we get, the faster time goes, and the more you feel like you are too busy and have more and more things to do. We like to think we still have a long time ahead of us, even though the years keep passing at speed light,” Uno told me. “I haven’t done anything to make my life last longer, and Linda hasn’t either. We don’t want to teach anything to the young, we want to learn from them. We’re only 95, our whole lives are ahead of us.”

Linda and Uno taking a walk on a winter’s day. Picture by Alina Birjuk.

See Alina’s documentary photo project for more pictures of Linda and Uno.

Cover: On an autumn day, these two lovers, Linda and Uno, caught Alina Birjuk’s attention on her way home; this photo report followed. Picture by Alina Birjuk.

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