Saturday, February 23, 2013

365 People Pictures--Day 10: A New Take on Senior Pictures

I have a nagging feeling that we may be missing out on a national treasure. While it is both fun and important to capture the beauty of youth--just as the tremendous milestone of graduating from high school is about to take place--our culture's fascination with the seeming perfection of wrinkle-free skin is notorious.

I would propose we continue to take the photographs labeled senior pictures, but let us not miss turning our cameras on the elderly. They've earned their wrinkles by living through some amazing events. Let's celebrate the story that each of their craggy faces represents.

Day 10 of my "people-picture" photography project was taken of my mother-in-law yesterday. Jane was born at the very beginning of the depression so she has childhood memories of the economic suffering that nearly crushed their family. She also has clear memories of World War II with its culmination in the dropping of the Atomic Bomb. She's lived through The Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Her husband was an Air Force pilot during the Cuban Missile Crisis who was airborne during those tense, fateful hours. She watched the airspace race between the Soviet Union and America, and witnessed the first man to walk on the moon. My mother-in-law has seen the near eradication of diseases like Tuberculosis and Polio. She's witnessed communication and computing changes that rival anything the world has ever know during the course of one lifetime. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. (Sorry, I just couldn't resist the pun.)

So let's continue to capture the beauty of  youth, but let's also make sure we mark the dignity of age. Let's turn our cameras on the seniors we know and record the many profound experiences etched into their faces. As an added bonus, won't these "senior pictures" be treasures to us when the elderly person we've photographed is no longer with us? Let's not miss a God-given opportunity!

1 comment:

  1. Great thoughts. I've done a few photos for seniors I know at a local nursing home. There are definitely stories to be told, and many of them are disappearing forever.