Meeting a person who has lived for eighty years or more leaves one with a feeling of reverence. The life experiences, the marriages, children and death, the World Wars that touched their lives either as children or as young adults taking part. Every subject has their own individual story and history but inevitably these are framed in a larger story of time, place and circumstance. The Western World has a fear of growing old, of looking old, preservation is key, the youth are idolized and the elderly overlooked. When taking photographs of the older generation it is easy to become absorbed into their past, it is impossible not to get drawn in, they become part of you. The aim of my project Magic Number was to highlight an under represented and yet growing section of society. Through portraiture I engaged with my subjects, using the medium of photography to evoke a way of seeing beyond their aging bodies. After each image is initially viewed my intention is for the viewer to see more, exploring the images and seeing a hidden aspect of the person depicted. Part of their character, their sense of fun and perhaps, having a greater understanding that goes beyond the initial first glance. As a group, the elderly are habitually over looked often feeling as though at a certain point in their lives they almost disappear, no longer seen as having a significant presence in society. To me they are cherished sources of history, bringing a wealth of knowledge with life experiences. They represent a group that should be allowed to have a voice; my project will allow space for empathy, respect and through imagery an articulation of experiences.
Ying Gao • Ally Robinson • Amanda Whittle • Xu Xiaroran •