Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Freya Najade

I came across the most fascinating article fact a photographic study conducted by German born London based photographer Freya Najade entitled If you are lucky, you get old. It has to be the most heartbreaking thing I've ever read possibly because it brought home some truths and made me realize a couple of things. Her study was initially meant to be on gay elderly people and their relationships which subsequently became an open subject of elderly people and their relationships and to explore this she went around retirement homes in the U.S stopping first off in Portland and then to Palm Springs where she spent 5 weeks meeting old people in retirement centers and discovering their life stories. The result of that was a collection of photos which told a thousand stories and what amazed me the most was that reading these people's tales, besides getting the obvious message that they were proud of having made it so far, bearing in mind that everyone she spoke to was at least 70 years old, was that we have so much in common when it comes to love, loss, heartbreak, relationships...walking down the street and seeing an elderly person you wouldn't think that they deal with the same issues as someone in their 20s. I mean these people were talking of boyfriends/girlfriends, breaking up, suffering, longing and sexual desires with the same passion and vulnerability and perhaps to a certain extent the same inexperience as someone like me. And hearing some of them talk about life partners, people that they've been in a relationship with for something like 30-40 years, with so much pride and sometimes sorrow yet acknowledging that growing together with that one person was the most amazing thing to happen to them...well you'd have to be made of stone not to get at least a tiny bit emotional about it. Sure, with age and life experience, one learns how to deal with situations in a different manner but how refreshing that these oldies have the same adolescent spirit and when it comes to love it doesn't matter what age you are , everyone wants to love and be loved so I guess for me, I've realized that love and heartbreak go pretty much hand in hand and I might as well buckle up and enjoy the ride because if I am lucky enough to get old I'll probably experience a lot more of it. We never stop growing and as long as we live we'll continue to experience the same things as everybody else and next time I see an elderly person on the bus/tube whatever...I'll sure be wondering what their story is. Check out the project itself here:

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