A Black and White Narrative
I've always loved the stories of the elders around me. Whether in the moments sitting with my grandmother and her friends for an afternoon tea talk, spontaneously capturing the natural beauty of an older woman beneath a tree along the Old Montauk Highway, or stopping by my then 98-year-old neighbor’s house and listening as she described her life as an artist and the perils of navigating aging in place—each experience always left me with a feeling of deep reverence and awe.
As I am entering my 60s at the end of this year, I find myself reflecting on the label elderly and how it creates so many limitations. Don't get me wrong; I am aware of the challenges with each passing year: to forge new career paths, maintain faraway family relationships, the hurdles my generation is continuing to climb over culturally, in politics, and to feel seen. And we are here! I am producing this work as a demonstration of valuing the experience of aging: the wisdom, humor, grit, and fortitude—of the physical and emotional lives of those at this stage of their journey.
I will be photographing individuals in simple black and white portraits and then capture their perspectives in oral history recordings. Questions asked of participants cover community in relation to family, friends, and physical surroundings as an aging person; the evolution of gender and identity; historical and contemporary thoughts on race and culture; and the impermanence of life.
This is a developing project, where I am seeking to represent a culturally diverse group of participants 60+ from all walks of life, If you or someone you know may be interested, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The exhibit will feature roughly 15 portraits with snips of narrative playing overhead. All opinions are solely those of the participants. However, I am sensitive to how this intimate information is presented: for both the participants and those receiving this dialogue.
I want to thank the Salem Council on Aging and Salem for All Ages for networking with me, and a special thank you to the Salem Arts Association for their enthusiasm and support of this body of work.
Claudia Lyons, age 66 - Salem, MA
Valerie Wyman Warren, age 61
Joyce Greer, age 64 - Salem, MA
Maria, age 81 - Beverly, MA