“That’s not a gray hair, honey,
That’s your silver lining“
This was a first for me. I had never photographed a lovely lady over the age of 60, let alone 86. I specialize in High School Seniors and absolutely LOVE working with 18 year olds. They are full of hope, excitement, wonder, youth, and beauty. I wasn’t quite sure what working with an “experienced” lady would be like. Let me tell you, I loved it!!!
This photo shoot was an 86th birthday present for this beautiful lady. Charline’s daughter-in-law, or daughter-in-love, as Charline calls her, expressed that she wanted to do something really special for her Mother-in-law’s birthday. She wanted the whole Diva experience, which includes hair, makeup, styling and having the Stylist on the shoot for hair and make up change. She wanted Charline to be pampered and to feel beautiful. Fran, the daughter-in-law, told me that Charline had given her something similar when she was in her twenties and when she looks at those pictures she remembers how beautiful she felt. That is what she wanted for Charline. She wanted Charline to feel as beautiful as she truly is.
We all met together at our local Starbucks to get an idea of what kind of portraits Charline would like. I could tell Charline was nervous and felt a little silly with the thought of getting her pictures taken. The more we talked, the more excited I got. Just looking at Charline and listening to her made me want to take her pictures, to show her how beautiful she is. We discussed makeup, outfits, styling. We talked about getting outside of her comfort zone to wear something she wouldn’t wear everyday. She tentatively said she would try. She told me she was not very photogenic and didn’t like pictures of herself and that she felt very nervous in front of the camera. I reassured her that, yes, she would be nervous and uncomfortable at first but after a few minutes, she would feel comfortable and we would have fun!
The day of the shoot she got all prettied up and was showing us the new clothes she bought for the shoot. All of her choices were fabulous! Then she pulled out a round fur hat and said, “I have always wanted a hat like this so I bought it. I don’t know how it will look but I wanted it”. My heart sang!!!!
The love Fran and Charline have for each other is sweet and enduring. I love to see such strong relationships between mothers and daughters in law. That relationship is always shown as difficult and petty in the movies. Many women just tolerate and try to have little or nothing to do with their mother-in-law. It takes time to fall in love with your mother- in-law, time to see her as a real person, time to get to know her. Charline and Fran have a treasure in each other.
Charline also wanted to highlight her squash blossom and other turquoise pieces, which I have become obsessed with as of late.
I wanted to show her rings that she wears everyday. I love her hands. They show strength and grace. I think of all the lives she has touched while she was a principal.
I think of how life has changed for her, how the world has changed, and the things her eyes have seen.
The culture we live in now does not appreciate women over 50. You see it everywhere. Everything is marketed to 20-30 year olds, which I find crazy since women above 50 have more disposable income. Aging is considered scary, sad, and definitely not beautiful. Older women are considered out of date, out of touch, and inconsequential. It’s as if you disappear after you turn 50.
I love this quote, “Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art”. I believe it to be true.
I want people to really SEE Charline. She walks slowly with grace. She reveals strength and perseverence in the lines of her beautiful face. She speaks with intelligence and knowledge. She shows kindness in her eyes that have seen decades of life, good times and bad.
And I want people to see her sass. Gotta always have the sass!!!
So now, as a New Mexico Photographer, I have decided that I love showing off ALL women, at ALL stages of life.