Searching for a lead image for our show “The Far Shore of Aging” with Jane Gross, I happened upon this fabulous photograph titled “Late adventures at Arco de São Jorge.” The dynamic nature of the composition of elderly people walking in the surf coupled with the saturated colors is exquisite. And the juxtaposition of a vibrant, healthy couple navigating the rocky shores with the need of a balancing stick illustrates their vitality and fragility all at once. Oh, and don’t you just love that splash of red of the lady’s bathing suit!
Nevertheless, I decided against using this photo because it was too “easy” for our purposes. This photo would’ve represented more of an idea rather than the grounded intimacy of an aging, fully sentient human being. Here, we’re looking at their backs, but we never see their faces, which perhaps compels us to think of far-off ideas and themes. All quite lovely, but, as it relates the subject matter of Krista’s conversation with Jane Gross, too abstract.
I wanted the viewer to embrace the face and the eyes, the deep intimacy of a person who is not one of the “elderly” but an individual who remains vibrant and changing, that individual’s relationship to the caregiver, and a sense of the caregiver’s pain and love, frustration and anger.
(photo: alex@Tlön/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)