Updated 1:15 p.m.
A couple whose purported proposal was captured on film by a nearby photographer has been found after images of their engagement received national attention — and their story doesn’t quite fit the narrative that the photographer had imagined.
Angila Golik, an amateur photographer from Nevada visiting D.C., captured what she thought was a proposal from an Air Force airman to a mysterious blonde at the D.C. War memorial, and launched an online search for the couple so she could give them the images. She made an appearance on the “Today” show to talk about her search, and a Huffington Post story about her photo has gotten more than 20,000 “likes” on Facebook.
According to NBC Washington, Golik didn’t capture a proposal after all — but the moment was a romantic one. The couple, choosing not to release their names to protect their privacy, released a statement through an Air Force lieutenant colonel that reads in part:
"The Air Force member was not proposing to his fiancé... at least not for the first time, as they had become engaged two weeks prior to these photos. Instead, they were walking around several memorials to determine if one of them would make a good location for their wedding ceremony. The photographer happened to catch the couple acting as if they were reciting their vows in the middle of the memorial, and re-living their sweet moment from two weeks prior."
While the story has tugged at the heartstrings of viewers everywhere, it’s also inspired a healthy dose of skepticism. Golik edited the images into what may be the schlockiest YouTube video ever (yes, it’s a beautiful moment, but it doesn’t need the enhancement of cheesy music and cliches like, “It was a moment of pure beauty and I could feel the love through my camera lense [sic]”), and many HuffPo commenters considered her search to be an invasion of privacy, even though the photos were taken in a public place.
The video has now been set to “private.” “There is no need to keep the video streaming and we need to let the national frenzy die down so that the couple can enjoy their new life!” wrote Golik in an e-mail.
Some were also skeptical that she was using their images to make a name for herself as a photographer, especially now that others are trying to cash in on the publicity and interest, too: The Fairmont Hotel in Georgetown is offering the couple a two-night stay with champagne and roses, once they’re discovered, wrote the hotel’s publicist in an e-mail. Still others were curious why, with all of the publicity, no one came forward for a while — but now we know that it was because the couple did not want the publicity.
What do you think — was Golik’s search genuinely heartfelt, or does it seem suspicious? Are we all being too cynical? Are proposals — which are becoming increasingly more public these days — better left offline?