Location: Inverness, CA, United States
I am 81 years old, my partner 92. On my 70th birthday, I woke from a dream in which I had rounded a corner and seen the end. This disturbing dream moved me to begin photographing the two of us, chronicling our time of growing old.
Now, eleven years out, he and I face numerous physical challenges: decreased mental acuity, especially memory; the diminished quality of our skin, hair and teeth; mild disfigurement; as well as the need to tend vigilantly to our balance, hearing, sight, physical agility and getting adequate sleep. Inside we are learning to accept what is, sometimes going from anger, impatience, sadness or fear to seeing the humor in the idiosyncrasies of growing old. We realize that if we can be comfortable with our own aged appearances and limitations, then the potential exists that others will become more comfortable witnessing this transformation and possibly become more comfortable with their own.
I have entered taboo territory, aging and death. The creation of these photos is part of my own way of dealing with the inevitability of dying by bringing attention to it and accepting it. I have come to embrace them as a tribute not just to our lives but also to the demanding and courageous task of growing old gracefully, graciously, and aware. A certain wisdom is evolving from years of living and observing, eventually unveiling previously unseen associations, patterns and similarities. I am gaining a much-appreciated perspective that was not available to me as a younger woman.