About this project
For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by two things: photography and people's stories. I was drawn to this because I live in a town with a lot of retirees, and many have amazing stories to tell.
Sadly, few are ever given the chance to tell their stories much less are even recognized. It appears that once one becomes a certain age, they become invisible or just lumped in with "the elderly" rather than seen as unique individuals. Even past status does not prevent this. As I mentioned in my video, I personally know former lawyers, doctors, CEOs, etc. who are now all seen as merely "the elderly". For better or worse, age appears to be ultimate equalizer.
I have already approached several people who are eager to be subjects with this. I intend to photograph people of all races, backgrounds, etc. I want this to be as diverse as the city I live in. I have also taken workshops, etc., to hone my photography skills. I want this to be good! Also, Charlottesville, Virginia, is home to several galleries, businesses, etc. that I know would be interested in displaying this work. I intend to make this an on-going project and hopefully, show it at a photo fest one day and/or make a book. I also intend to create website with the photos on display.
I am asking for funding to cover materials, expenses, etc. This is the first time I have ever asked for help. In the past, all projects have been 100% self-funded.
I am a FT mother and work PT in a variety of jobs including that of a freelance writer, yoga instructor, and handwork teacher. Needless to say, I am not making any money from this project, nor do I expect to do so. (This is a labor of love in every sense of the word.) I need to upgrade my equipment including my DSLR camera which will be my main tool for this project. I buy everything (lenses, printers, camera bodies, etc.) used when I can. I also borrow others' equipment when I can, but it can be challenging.
Risks and challenges
My biggest challenge is getting people to see my work! I would love it if millions around the world saw my work, but even if it never moves outside my community that will be okay.
Another challenge is getting people to take away something from the work and not just think, "Oh, so some chick made a series of portraits of old people." That can be hard. However, I believe that like it or not, we all know that old age will come to nearly all of us.
There has been much talk in the media about the "greying of America" and other countries like Japan. I believe that this is a relevant subject and one that most can relate to. The biggest shock for me so far is seeing my parents age. While, intellectually, I knew it would happen, I was not emotionally prepared for it. Also, my aging is shocking to me. I know have lines and grey hairs? How did that happen?!
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Aging both fascinates and frightens me. I was raised in part by a grandmother who was 60 when I was born. (She died when I was 22.) She was my rock, but I never thought of Grandma's life before she was old. She would talk about her life as a young woman, but I could not even envision her as young.
Years later, I worked at a law firm were I was one of the youngest people there by several decades. It was interesting to see the retired partners and those transitioning to retirement. Many of them went from well-known, powerful players in the community to just "old guys" who were largely ignored as they went about in public.
As a society, we are living longer. A recent Nat Geo cover story talked about the possibility of people living to be a 120 years plus. We talk a lot about aging such as it's economic cost on society, but elderly people are largely ignored. Even though we all know, intellectually, that aging will happen to us, few of us ever envision ourselves as "old people".
No. I plan to have subjects from all walks of life. I believe everyone has a story to tell. Sometimes the most "ordinary" people turn out to be the most fascinating.
You have my word. I am honest almost to a fault. I tend to be a pretty private person so even talking about this project with the public is a big deal to me. Also, I intend to keep those who donate aware of my progress every couple of months or so.