Beauty & Wisdom ~ Altering the Perception of Age

By Robbie Kaye, Photographer and Guest Contributor

Why is it a daunting task to alter the perception of aging and beauty when we all do it? What if there were billboards of sexy 50 and 60 year olds doing sports or just close ups of their aged faces? What if there were pictures of older men and women in hair salons? Why should older women have to sit in a salon chair and see only posters of young beautiful faces on the wall? Who put the “ugly” in aging, a privilege denied to many, and how do we take it out? Enough questions?

It makes sense that because the fashion world has grown so much that we are barraged with images of youthful beauty. Could it be that during the time that some of our mothers or grandmothers aged, they were relegated to wearing beige rubbery shoes and flowery housecoats? It’s not that way anymore.

And in my memory, my own grandmother wore Ferragamo shoes and Chanel suits well into her 90’s until the day she passed. What I don’t understand is why do we keep aging a secret when it is inevitable? The gap between generations would lessen if we chiseled away at the stereotypes that are not even accurate anymore.

How can we teach young women to honor older women? My guess would be to teach by example. After all, the older women are the ones who opened the door and led the way for our younger generations and they/we will continue to do so.

The reality of my vision for older women appearing on billboards is not so far away. More and more magazines are being published with mature women on the covers and stories about what they are doing. On social media I have had the privilege of meeting many other advocates for baby boomers who are also on the path of redefining what aging looks like. It actually feels like a bit of a revolution, if not, evolution. Bonnie McFarland who offers information for women who want to create lives they love at 60 & beyond. And Growing Bolder, which now has their own TV station, blog radio and blog. Ceri Wheeler (FabAfterFifty) from England, Carrie Pierce who sheds light on topics for older women including the taboo subject of menopause with her radio co-host Gail Edgell and Sophie Lumen from Feed The Beauty… the list goes on and on so the good news is that collectively, we are expanding our perception and in the process, altering it for the healthier and better.

I am seeing other photographers paying homage to our elders. Honey Lazar, a fantastic fine art photographer is coming out with a photographic book called, “Loving Aunt Ruth” and we get to be voyeurs into the life of a woman, who at 92 and a half, continues to teach us valuable lessons of love and integrity. I highly recommend reading Honey’s blog with her eloquent gentle writing and poignant photographs.

While it would be easy to rant and complain about how our media, advertising and culture caters to youth, I prefer to focus on the movement forward and I am grateful to participate in this movement. I enjoyed presenting my photographs of older women and hearing people relate their stories of nostalgia about their elders. The photographs present strong, fearless women who did not let vanity stop them from living full and exciting lives. I feel honored that they allowed me to take their photographs and interview them. I am excited to exhibit their photographs and share their images along with essays from women all over the country in the book, Beauty and Wisdom, a preservation of rituals and an account of Beauty and Wisdom.

 

 

Robbie Kaye studied photography at the University of Southern California. Her work can be viewed in publications such as Visual Overture Magazine, Professional Women Photographers Imprints Mag, Gourmet and Allure Magazine and she is published in various online publications such as Lens Culture and Lenscratch among others. Robbie’s work from Beauty & Wisdom has been featured in the Month of Photography, Los Angeles Group Show, (MOPLA) at Smashbox Studios in Culver City, CA and has received numerous awards. Robbie will be exhibiting Beauty and Wisdom in a solo show this September at Camera Work Gallery in Portland, Oregon. To view more of her work, visit her websites at RobbieKaye.com and RobbieKayeGallery.com as well as her Beauty and Wisdom trailer on YouTube.com.

30 Responses to Beauty & Wisdom ~ Altering the Perception of Age

  1. Beth Rosen says:

    What a nice article and wonderful site. As a gal over 50 I feel like my life is just starting. Kids are out of the house and I’m ready to rediscover who I am. We are creating a movement and it’s by being active, involved and relevant. This is an exciting time to be a Midlife Gal!

    • The Succulent Wife says:

      Our lives are just starting, indeed. My favorite line: Who put the “ugly” in aging, a privilege denied to many, and how do we take it out”. Let’s campaign for Beauty & Wisdom!

  2. Splendid market says:

    I love the campaign. The photos are wonderful. wrinkles are wonderful, a sign of life well lived.

  3. Robbie Kaye says:

    This is such an exciting time. We are collectively coming together to create such a beautiful change and honoring, not just for those who came before us, but for now, and for those who will follow. Thank you Succulent Wife for giving me the opportunity to share my work, our work, with you!

  4. Thanks for such a clear article as this. It’s what it is all about – speaking out and being visible in all that that entails. As the largest
    percentage of the population is now over 50, this is a very important time because our world needs people who are comfortable in their own skin right now.

  5. Robbie’/s heart and soul, and love of beauty comes through in every photograph she captures. She is a true artist and a gift to every woman!

  6. Maureen Ardron says:

    Thank you for your insightful piece on the beautiful aging women of today! I so agree that example is the best teacher. For my own part, I don’t believe aging is a curse, but a lovely and amazing step in our journey of life. We have proven our selves by raising our children, working our jobs, maintaining our homes, loving our spouses and now it is our turn to shine.

    As someone who works closely with the elderly, I have seen unparalleled dignity and beauty in assisted living facilities and Skilled nursing facilities. Many ladies (and gentlemen too) take pride in their appearance and endeavor to make their lives both meaningful and happy.

    Our youth oriented society has certainly lost its way. Appreciating those who have come before us is a cornerstone in the pursuit of one’s own happiness. After all we’re all going to age….unless we die before we do. Embracing and enjoying this time only really makes sense!

  7. Dave Salter says:

    A wonderful article on this very important subject. Respecting the wisdom of our elders as well as appreciating their beauty is a very important aspect of society that seems to be on the decline in many “developed” cultures.

  8. This is great, Robbie!

    I love Who put the “ugly” in aging, a privilege denied to many, and how do we take it out? And I appreciate you focusing on the positive, the changes that are happening rather than on the problems, the difficulties.

    Your photos are lovely. The women look beautiful!

    And, of course, I’m honored and delighted to have you include me and Savoring Your Sixties in your list of women creating new path for aging.

  9. Karen says:

    Robbie’s work is a treat to view and much needed therapy for societies toxic views on the ‘value’ of women as they age.

    Everything is impermanent, save the spirit of a woman who embraces all of her years. There-in she finds her soul.

    Wonderful piece. Thank you Robbie.

    Karen

  10. Lillian Potell Wernick says:

    Dear Robbie:

    You never cease to reach my heart and my soul. I never believed that I in any way was attractive, but your photo of me with my head in the basin has indeed made me feel pretty. Really love that shot of me.

    My gratitude for your healing prayers, I need them desperately. My journey with cancer is not something I wanted but it’s mine now.
    I shall fight it with all that is in me.

    Continue making the world a beautiful place for us old folks.

    Love you

    Lillian

  11. Laurie Allyn says:

    There are many words that can and have been used to describe Robbie Kaye – artist, visionary, pilgrim, friend, saint and all of the glowing subhead adjectives trailing after each one. All very much deserved.
    She has used her God given talents to shine a bright light into a corner long darkened to many in today’s culture – but with that light there is the soft focus of a warm heart, so caring and tender – so understandng – way beyond her own years.

    I want to shout: Thank you, Robbie for using your wondrous creativity in such a heartfelt way. Celebrating aging women as you have has resurrected us from a faceless number, given us a new and renewed sense of worth and pride and a zest for living perhaps gone dormant or diminished into a faint, resolute smile.
    We will all stand taller, laugh more readily, engage with more passion because of you now. Thank you too for reminding the world that aging is not a gift given to everyone.

    Besides Friend I’d say you more than qualify for Saint in my book.

    My Love and gratitude,
    Laurie
    PS…Lillian, you are in my prayers~

  12. honey says:

    robbie, aunt ruth and i are touched by your words but also admire the beauty of your project and your spirit.

    you remind each of us to pause, breathe, find gratitude, and embrace the day with joy.

  13. The Succulent Wife says:

    I knew that this would be a special piece when I invited Robbie to write for us, but I was amazed by how powerful it was upon first reading it when it arrived in my inbox a few days ago.

    And, as I read all these comments, I realize now that Robbie’s words, images and wisdom are even more powerful than I imagined and they have really struck a chord.

    Thank you Robbie for your work in bringing to light these non-conventional but so refreshing variations on beauty.

    Anne-Marie

  14. Robbie Kaye says:

    Thank you all so much for your supportive comments and thank you Lillian, for being such a beautiful and inspirational model for my project. xoxo

  15. Robbie, this article was not only enlightening but also comforting that someone is speaking out about this deeply entrenched issue that affects women of all ages. Certainly some of us baby boomers had the impression that we would never age but to do it gracefully and with dignity takes all of us to be on the same page and to be accepted for our gifts. Thanks for bringing it to the forefront.

  16. Eleonora says:

    In a culture where plastic faces, botox and “perfection” are the norm, I salute Robbie for capturing these beautiful wrinkles and expressions. It is really refreshing to see women being proud of who they are and keeping these wrinkles that have been witnesses to happiness, heart breaks, and all that life has to offer… Thank you, Robbie and The Succulent Wife for featuring this!

  17. Gaea Yudron says:

    Robbie,
    Thanks for this wonderful post and the photos you created to illustrate it. I resonate with everything you’ve said. I believe that aging is an important and valuable stage of our development, and that there’s a great deal of beauty and opportunity in the later years.

    I’ve written a musical revue on aging–some mp3s and lyrics are available at wwww.sagesplay.com. I’m very interested in networking with other cultural creatives to get positive aging messages out into the culture. I write about creative aging in my blog http://www.sagesplay.blogspot.com and hope that you will check it out when you have a moment. Thanks and look forward to the opportunity to get to know you and your work more fully.

  18. Robbie Kaye says:

    Thank you… your comments and support have brought me to tears. Tears of happiness and humbleness (if that’s a word?). You all strengthen my desire to keep going and you bolster the foundation that we are all creating together… with our voices, our visibility! Reminding you all, that you are indeed, beautiful!

  19. Shuli says:

    Robbie, great article about such an important topic. Your photos and words are both revolutionary and evolutionary! As a (not so much!) younger woman I honor and respect you to the fullest. Thanks for your inspiration to live life to its most high and to spread the messages of true beauty and wisdom to all women and girls everywhere.

  20. Pingback: Beauty & Wisdom ~ Altering the Perception of Age | BOOMbox Network

  21. Darlene says:

    Beautiful article and photos, beautiful women, beautiful you! Celebrating life, giving a voice and a face to those often left unheard with important messages for us all. Thank you for being who you are, sharing your incredible talents and spirit. You are making a difference while motivating others to do the same. Where can I get your book? I’m ready for more. I love your right here, right now…we’re in this together style.

  22. Robbie Kaye says:

    Darlene,
    Thank you for your beautiful comment and your support. I am in the process of producing several books for Beauty and Wisdom. One will be a handmade book that is the art itself with images and essays and another will be a traditional book with essays, quotes and images of the women I interviewed and photographed. Please like my “The Beauty of Wisdom” fanpage on Facebook as will be be posting availability for the book and sharing where to go for pre-sales. Again, I appreciate your support and interest so much and yes indeed, we are all in this together, every one of us! Shine on!

  23. Lara says:

    Cheers to Beauty & Wisdom! My mom still looks so pretty and lovely. It’s about learning to take care of ourselves and being beautiful inside and out.

  24. Love your article! I am 56, have owned my second business for seven years (called There For You)as an advocate and “daughter” to seniors, and the “extra sister” to boomers. I encourage all I meet to embrace their beautiful age – no matter what that age. I find this time in my life to be amazing, hopeful, and exciting. I am trying to launch a speaking career, talking about what I’ve learned in these seven years and to consult with families who need advice on aging and aiding their elder parents. My clients, many in their 90′s, are inspirational, give me so much more than I can give them. I can’t wait to continue on this path of life! I wrote a book last year called Navigating the River of Aging that encourages boomers and the sandwich generation to seize life and enjoy it to the fullest. There are so many possibilities as we live longer, healthier lives.
    I actually have two websites and a blog. http://www.ThereForYouToo.com, MarilynSlaby.com, and blog.Thereforyoutoo.com

    Thank you for being so forward thinking. I would love to talk with you more as we seem to have kindred spirits!

    Marilyn

  25. Pingback: Beauty Age | All Things Latin

  26. Pingback: The Changing Perception of Age | |

  27. Pingback: B(L)oomers Party™ in NYC on August 4, 2012 – for Baby Boomer Bloggers Only! | The Succulent Wife

  28. Pingback: B(L)oomers Party™ in NYC on August 4, 2012 – for Baby Boomer Bloggers Only! | BOOMbox Network

  29. Pingback: Altering the Perceptions of Aging and Beauty - Generation Fabulous

Leave a comment