Embrace Your Age

Museum Pick: January 21-February 2, 2009

The relationship between women and age is legendary and poses many questions. As a portrait artist, I have noticed that women of all ages refuse to accept themselves as they are. They want to be "retouched" and fixed to look younger, thinner, more like magazine models, and to erase all the beautiful marks of their wisdom and experience. Does youth equal beauty? Looking at the photographs, are the 20-something women more beautiful than the over-50s?
Our age is a number which is attached to us as children and remains, although changing, with us forever.

Some years we are proud of our number (I'm five!). Other years we are frightened of our number (Yikes, I'm going to be 50).

In fact, every number has a meaning, which of course may be different for different women. The numbers prompt us to action: kindergarten, menstruation, wearing makeup, driving, college, marriage, affairs, career decisions, pregnancy, motherhood, menopause, cosmetic surgery, retirement, divorce...even death.

Society dictates what is "appropriate" for every age: how to dress, how to act, how to spend our time, and whom to choose as friends and lovers. We often wonder about the age of others ("How old is she?"), especially if she is not following the accepted agenda of aging.

As we age, we notice that people who once would have seemed "old" to us now appear to be quite young. This is the shock of middle age, to find that out supervisors, physicians, and therapists are young enough to be our children.

Many of the older women in the project expressed that they have lived "enough." With life spans increasing, how long do we really want to live? Under what conditions would a long life be most fulfilling?

Ultimately, every woman should be able to look at the photographs and see herself in the past, present and future. She may see a child who reminds her of how she was, or someone older who is exactly who she wants to become.

She may marvel at women her own age who are very different from her, or very much the same. The series is a rich tapestry representing the life cycle of all women. We are not just one age, but all the ages that we have been and will become. We are simply at one point along this journey.

My objective is to photograph any woman who is willing to hold her age in her hand, and the number of women who volunteered has been tremendous.

Many felt it was liberating to be accepted at their true age, without artifice, and without any expectation that they would have to look younger or different from who they are.

The photographs are not meant to be an end in themselves, but a catalyst for people to think and talk about all these issues: age, beauty, society, relationships, and life.

Imagine a world where every age is a wonderful thing. Where scars and lines and gray hairs are considered signs of wisdom and experience, just as fabulous at 65 as smooth skin is at 25. Imagine a world where it's perfectly OK to be who you are, look like you do, and enjoy each day as it comes. Try looking in the mirror and saying, "yay" instead of "yuck."

Déclaration de l'artiste

To see all the age portraits with commentary by the women who participated (189 so far) please visit my Web site Embrace Your Age.


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Balises :

aging , age , women and aging , age,aging,women


I think this story is absolutely endearing. I love each models individual expression of her age. It makes me feel more entitled to my own age and aging. Thank you for sharing.

I absolutely love the 54 year old's expression! Very nice, I cannot wait to share with a group of young women photographers! Thank you for sharing...

Enjoyed the impact and importance of this body of work.



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