Blind date photoshoot

Damon Coe meets Josie Jones for the first time on a blind date.

“It’s like a romance novel, and I’ve always wanted to tell a love story.”

But, instead of writing one, Lindsey McCaffry is letting her photographs tell the tale of two strangers who met at an undisclosed location, in hopes of discovering a lasting relationship.

Like most everyone who has been in quarantine, McCaffry used her time to plot a new course in her professional life. A seasoned photographer who owns and operates McCaffry Photography in Lafayette and Crawfordsville, she chose to venture into new territory.

After months of planning, the 38-year-old posted on her website, mccaffryphotography.com, and on her Facebook page that she was looking for single males and females who would be willing to be set up on a blind date that happened to also serve as a photo session.

Her first takers were outgoing individuals who had a blast with the matchmaking and photo shoot, she said. Her second couple, however, left a special impression. “They were very nervous,” McCaffry said. “You can definitely see it throughout the images. You see the nervousness and then when they relax. I think that’s why their story is so intriguing.”

McCaffry is referring to the hundreds of Facebook followers who continue to seek updates on the second couple.

“It has been very overwhelming,” said 27-year-old Josie Jones, Lafayette, of the constant inquiries into her “personal love life.” Jones was selected for the second blind-date photo session, which took place over a three-hour period on Aug. 2. She was partnered with Logansport resident, Damon Coe, 27.

Initially hesitant about applying for the gig, Coe said his mother, Dawn [Robinson] Coe of Royal Center, persuaded him, so, “I did it to make her happy. I really threw myself out there,” he laughed. “Mom had sent me a link on Facebook, tagged me, and told me to fill out an application. A week later, Lindsey messaged me that she had chosen me. I was so ecstatic.”

Admitting that he was beyond nervous the entire day leading up to the event, Coe said he tried to stick with his normal routine. All the while, he was anxious to meet the woman whom Lindsey had chosen for him.

“The car ride … was 90 minutes,” he said. “It was an excruciating ride.”

The couple were transported, separately, to a private residence in Crawfordsville, where the property owners granted permission for McCaffry to photograph on the land and in the waterfall.

“It was a magical time,” said McCaffry. “It was a combination of beautiful images and telling a story.”

And, what an amazing story it has been, according to Jones. From having Angel Cardona, a professional stylist with Sebastian Professional, provide free hair products and styling tips to Pandora jewelry company donating various pieces of its Pandora Signature Collection to Jones, she was captivated by the entire journey.

Meeting Coe was icing on the cake. “I was like, ‘holy cow,’ he was really tall and beyond handsome,” she said of her blind date meeting, explaining how they met: “They walked me up to where he was and we stood in front of each other. They took our blindfolds off and I didn’t know what to expect. I was really nervous … but, super excited.”

Coe shared her sentiments. Very nervous, he said, it was finally being able to meet Jones that made the experience less stressful. “She was so sweet, a very pretty girl with great eyes and a sweet smile.”

Because Pandora wanted to play a romantic role in the event, the items, including a bracelet, earrings, and rings, were given to Jones by Coe. “I think it was $1,500 [worth of jewelry] donated by Pandora … but they wanted it to be presented as if I had bought it,” he said of the photographs where he placed the necklace on Jones’ neck. “It was an expensive first date,” he joked.

Expensive or not, it was a fun and unique experience where everyone bonded, said McCaffry, who was pleased with the end result. When the couple first met, “they [didn’t] know where they were as a couple, so they were open to trying new things even though they were nervous. But, they began to relax and I got more of a true emotion out of them,” said McCaffry. “These two strangers had more chemistry, and it was easier to photograph than a real couple.”

She hopes to have a repeat session in the near future. In fact, McCaffry has already begun her next search. A third couple will meet on Aug. 30, but she’s on the hunt for a fourth couple who would be photographed on Sept. 29. Singles must be between the ages of 21 and 35, she said, adding that they must reside within a three-hour drive of either Lafayette or Crawfordsville because she wants a couple to have a chance at a long-term, not long-distance, relationship.

As for Coe and Jones, they picked up where they left off the day of the photo shoot. “We went on a lunch date a couple days after,” Coe said. However, they decided to remain as friends and nothing more.

Both seem satisfied with that result. “We enjoyed the whole experience and it was so worth it,” Jones said, adding she would encourage her single friends to take part in a similar matchmaking plan. “You never know until you try … you could find a friend or find something else.”

For these two, said Coe, they found a friendship to cherish.

Reach Kristi Hileman at kristi.hileman@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5150

Reach Kristi Hileman at kristi.hileman@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5150

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