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100: Old Age and New Photography

±100: Old Ageand New Photography
Until very recentlythe contrastbetween the visible signs of ageing and the ab-
sence of theirrepresentations in visual culturewas striking,Anca Cristofovici
writes in Touching Surfaces:Photographic Aesthetics, Temporality,Ageing (2009,
2).This situation has changed somewhat since then, although there still is acon-
siderable lack of such representations in our society.Inthis essay, Idiscuss three
projects by anew generation of photographers who negotiate the topics of age-
ing and old agefrom different perspectives. The photographers in question are
recent graduates of atwo-year masterclass at the Ostkreuzschule für Fotografie
in Berlin. Under the guidance of UteMahler (photographer and co-founder of the
Ostkreuz agency) and Ingo Taubhorn(curator of the Haus der Photographie,
Deichtorhallen Hamburg), fourteen photographers work side by side to develop
their ownprojects.InFebruary 2020,the results wereexhibited in the Kunst-
quartier Bethanien in Berlin under the title True Stories_¹.The fourteen pro-
jects could not be more diverse, including portrayals of everydaylife in a
small villagenext to anuclear power plant (800 Meter Tief by Nina Hansch), ex-
cavations of the photographersown archive (Prelight Days by Attila Hartwig),
and aquest for identity and belongingasthe child of amigrant worker in the
GDR (Garcias Tochter by Alina Simmelbauer). However,three of the projects
are connected by the theme of old ageand ageing.The photographs by Heidi
Krautwald, Magdalena Stengel, and Natalya Reznikeach deal with different as-
pects of ageing,and its implications for us as individuals and social beings.
New PerspectivesonCentenarians
Plus minus hundred (±100)isthe title of Magdalena Stengelsseries of photo-
graphs,representing boththe approximate ageofits protagonists and the over-
archingtheme of the series. Over two years, Stengel(*1987)²researched and
documented centenarians (and thosewho wereabout to become centenarians)
across Germany. Stengelexplains: They somehowfound me. Icontacted local
The exhibition in Berlin was on displayfromFebruary 15 23,and was supposed to travel, in a
slightlyreducedversion, to HamburginApril 2020.Given the current situation, with aglobal
pandemicinplaceand ageneral halttoculturaland social activities,itremains questionable
if and when it can be shown again. (March 10,2020).
OpenAccess. ©2021Hanna Baro, published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the
Creative CommonsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
newspapers and asked them whether they could write avery brief introduction
about me and my project and that Iamlooking for centenarians. Afterwards, I
simplywaited and wascontacted by them either directlyorvia their relatives.³
Stengelthen visited several of her new contacts, spending hours with them and
getting aglimpse into their lives their present livesand the livesalreadylived.
Her worknot onlydepicts old people, but alsoopens awindow onto their per-
sonality,leaving spacefor interpretation. The series does not give an exhaustive,
completepicture of old ageingeneral, but instead offers glimpses into very per-
sonal examples of old age. In one of Stengelsphotographs,chosen for the cover
of the exhibition invitation, an elderlyman is seen peeking through athick, or-
angevelvetcurtain which covers the entire image(fig.1). He uses his left hand to
draw back the curtain acrack, partiallyrevealinghis laughing face. He seems
or the moment.T
aking ac
loser look at him, or the parts of him that
can be seen, we notice an odd object around his wrist.For most viewers,the de-
tail would be easilyoverlooked at first sight.Once seen, however,itcannot be
unseen and, for most people who have elderlyfamilymembers, anew layer
of the story starts to unfold. The wristband with its distinctive red button is an
emergency alarm, worn by manyelderlypeople who stilllivebythemselves.
The button is directlyconnected to the welfareorganization which has provided
it.When pressed if the person fell down, feels sick,orisotherwise in distress
amember of the organisation immediatelyreplies and, together with the elderly
person, decides whether to send an ambulance or anyother help. The service is
available 24/7,every dayofthe year,and enables manyelderlypeople to stayin
their ownhomes and maintain adegree of independence. Having discovered this
wristband, we can infer thatits owner the laughingman behindthe curtain
probablystill livesonhis own, despite his age. Is this perhaps areason for his
Compared to other photographs depicting centenarians apparentlyingreat
demand these days Stengelsdonot show onlytheir faces,but try to capture
their subjectspersonality.This leads both to happy images showing,for ex-
ample,acentenarian surrounded by his large familyathis hundredth birthday
party (fig.2)and ones in which acertain sadness resonates,asinthe imageof
a98-year-old woman standing in front of asewingtable (fig.3). Stengelexplains
that the woman still has to take on occasional sewingjobs, as her pension is too
small to live on. In addition to the photographs, ±100 consists of three short
Interview with Magdalena Stengel from February 15,2020.
See for example the series by Karsten Thormaehlenwherehephotographed centenarians all
over the world, published in Karsten Thormaehlen, 100 Jahre Lebensglück: Weisheit, Liebe, La-
chen (Munich: Knesebeck, 2017).
130 HannaBaro
videos of three of the people photographed. One shows aman dancing;another
shows aman playing the harmonica; in the third, we see amanshand holding a
bouquet of artificial flowers upside down, turning them slowlyinhis fingers. The
artist notes that the bouquetwas made by his deceased wife, and that it stands
in for her in the video. Rather than aportrait of the husband, this is aportrait of
the wifesabsence.
The photograph tells me the death in the
While Stengelsphotographs are about their lives, thereisalways another topic
present within this celebration. The thought of the end of these liveslurks be-
Figure 1: MagdalenaStengel, ±100,carbon print, 42 x29,7 cm, 2019
±100: Old Age and New Photography 131
neath the photographs or,asRoland Barthes puts it in Camera Lucida: Pho-
tographyisakind of primitive theater,akind of Tableau vivant,afiguration of
the motionless and made-up face beneath which we see the dead(1981, 32).
Lookingatthe photograph of ayoungman in his prison cell, waiting to be
hanged, he writes: But the punctum is: he is going to die. Iread at the same
time: This will be and this has been;Iobservewith horror an anterior future of
which death is the stake. By giving me the absolute past of the pose (aorist),
the photograph tells me death in the future. ...Whether or not the subjectis
alreadydead, every photograph is this catastrophe(Barthes 1981, 96). For
Barthes, the punctum of aphotograph is the spontaneous, affective moment
when asmall, often random detail catches the viewersinterest and draws
their attention closer to the imageand the story behind it.Lookingagain at Sten-
gelsphotographofthe laughingold man behind the curtain, the emergency but-
Figure 2: MagdalenaStengel, ±100,carbon print, 42 x29,7 cm, 2019
Formorestudies on photographyand death, see the seminal studybyKatharina Sykora, Die
Tode der Fotografie,Vol. 1: Totenfotografie und ihr sozialer Gebrauch (Munich:Fink, 2009), and
Vol. 2: Tod, Theorie und Fotokunst (Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 2015). ForastudyonSontag, photog-
raphy, and death, see Matthias Christen, AllPhotographs areMemento Mori: Susan Sontag und
der Todinder Fototheorie,Fotogeschichte 32.126(2012): 2336.
132 HannaBaro
ton around his wrist becomes the punctum. Giventhat the people portrayed by
Stengelare, or are approaching,ahundred years old, it cannot be denied that
their livesare comingtoanend. They are alreadyyears beyond the average
life expectancy in Germany. Thisreality sets in when Stengel receivedamessage,
duringthe exhibition opening,that one of the women she photographed had
died, the dayafter her hundredth birthday. Forthe woman, the anterior future
has become the present and her photograph instantlybecomes amemento
mori, apastthatnolonger exists.
AGreynaissancein The Old World
Natalya Rezniks(*1981) series, TheOld World,offers acontrast to Stengelsde-
piction of old age.The title does not refer to abygone world, but to an imagined
future world wherepeople become older and older,changing society.Reznik
tries to imagine afuture of increasingnumbers of fit,energetic elderlypeople,
Figure 3: MagdalenaStengel, ±100,carbon print, 42 x29,7 cm, 2019
TheOld World consists of eight photographs so far,but is an ongoingproject.
±100: Old Age and New Photography 133
taking an active role in society.Her view of this scenario is positive,something
that resonatesinher work. Here, photographyisnot awindow onto the past,but
the future. Beautiful elderlywomen pose gracefully. In the blurred backgrounds,
we sense citiesand their skylines (fig.4), or aview of anatural landscape by the
sea. Only the subtitles reveal wherethese women werephotographed, and where
they likelylive. Reznik choosesbalconies and terracesassettingsfor her por-
traits, alludingtosuch placescharacter,which oscillates between privateand
public: both part of its ownersprivateenvironment (the house or apartment),
and of the public sphere wherepeople passing by can see you. The balconyis
neither completelyprivate nor completelypublic, but includes both worlds.
TheOld World recalls idealised female portraits from the Renaissance,where
the sitters weredepicted using symbols like jewelry or clothing that referred to
their social status within earlymodern society.Then and now,both gender
Figure 4: Natalya Reznik, The Old World,2017-2019 (installation view,Kunstquartier Be-
thanien, Berlin 2020)
©Natalya Reznik 2020
Foranelaborate overview of female Renaissanceportraits and their culturaland social con-
structions,see David Alan Brown, Virtue and Beauty:LeonardosGinevradeBenci and Renais-
134 HannaBaro
and ageare social constructs, rather thangiven biological categories, and this
understanding permeates Rezniksproject.LikeRenaissance portraits, TheOld
World shows most of these women in half-length and three-quarter profile.
Each wears elegant black robes, their hair done, make-up partiallyhiding
their wrinkles (fig.5). While the portraits are staged, they werenot re-touched.
sance Portraits of Women (Princeton:Princeton University Press, 2001), and Paola Tingali,
Women in Renaissance Art: Gender,Representation, Identity (Manchester and New York: Man-
chester University Press,1997).
Figure 5: Natalya Reznik, The Old World (Hexana),Munich, Germany,carbon print, 67 x100
cm, 2018
©Natalya Reznik
±100: Old Age and New Photography 135
Reznik explains that some of her sitters asked to have certain wrinkles eliminat-
ed in post-production, but that she refused, since she wanted to show these
women as they are.
The Greynaissancestarts here,writes Reznik in her short description of
TheOld World (Reznik 2020). Greynaissanceis atermcoming from social
media, usedtodescribe beautifulelderlymodels, mostlywomen over the age
of fifty or sixty,some of whom are featured in TheOld World. Instagramcontains
numerous images of these models under the hashtag #greynaissance.The beau-
ty standards at work, however,are just the same as for younger models: all of
them are tall and slim, with highcheek bones and delicate features.Onlytheir
silverhair and wrinkles differentiatethem from the younger models that have
dominatedthe media for so long.There is no diversity in the Greynaissance.
Even though the women in TheO
ld Worldhave aged chronologically(
fifty-and sixty-plus), their biological, social,and cultural ageseem faryounger.
Wrinkles aside, they do not seem to have aged much, and are still presented as
strong, youthful women. Sociallyand culturally, they do not fit the category of
old women:theymight have retired from their previous jobs, but have now be-
come models or social media influencers, with thousands of followers on Insta-
gram and other platforms. One of the most famous examples of these models is
the AmericanIris Apfel, still afashion icon at the ageof98. In 2005,The Metro-
politan Museum of Art devoted an entire exhibition to her, RaraAvis: Selections
from the Iris Apfel Collection.¹While this positive outlook on old ageand in-
creasingrepresentations of it in media is good, Greynaissancewomen like
Apfel remain the exception rather thanthe rule. We wonder wherethe fragile,
non-eccentric,vulnerable, lonelyaspects of old age which affect alarge part
of elderlymen and women are represented, and whythey remain largely invis-
ible in our visual culture. Despite the positive representation of old ageinvisual
cultureand media, we must remember that this is social media, whereimageand
identity are highlycurated and staged.
Interview with Natalya Reznik, February 15,2020.
Cf. Kathleen Woodwardsdistinction between chronological, biological, social, and cultural
age in Performing Age, Performing Gender,National WomensStudies Association Journal
(NWSA)1.1 (2006): 163.
apfel-collection (March 10,2020).
136 HannaBaro
The Other Side of the Coin: Hopeand
In another project dealingwith ageing and old age, Reznik works in acompletely
different pictorial language. The wayshe portraysher grandmother in Hope
(20112019) could not be more different to her method of presentingthe beauti-
fullydressed and groomed women of TheOld World. Nadezhda, Rezniksnona-
genarian grandmother,isshown in her everydayoutfit at homeinPerm, Russia,
without make-up, no styled hair (fig.6). The pictures resemble spontaneous
snapshots of the everydaylife of an old woman who cannot live alone anymore,
requiringhelp from her family, and especiallyfrom her owndaughter,Rezniks
mother (fig 7). There is avulnerability in these images, underlined in the text ac-
companying the project:
She feels disgust towards her changedphysiology, infirm bodyand illnesses.She has desire
to loveand to be loved and at the same time she feels beingunworthyofit. She constant-
ly feels beingoffended because she thinks that people have the laughofher,because of her
Figure 6: Natalya Reznik, Hope,2011-2019
©Natalya Reznik
±100: Old Age and New Photography 137
weakness (doesnthear properly, almost blind). Sometimesshe tells that she hatesherself.
She stays at home all the time (old house, no elevator). Sometimesshe is angry and tells my
mother and me: Youdontgivemekeys, Icantgooutside!.But in fact she knows that she
cantgoalone without us because of her health. (Reznik 2011)
We become aware of Nadezhdasstruggle, as an old woman who dislikesher age-
ing bodyand her failinghealth, which make her dependent on others. She feels
trapped, in her house and her body.
Reznikstwo projects could not be more different,and show two quite differ-
ent aspectsoffemale ageing. TheOld World depicts an utopian process of age-
ing,wherewomen are still defined by their beauty. Hope,bycontrast, is an hon-
est,sometimes harsh portrayal of the social,psychological, and physical effects
of age: loneliness, immobility, dependency,sickness, and shame. Is there a dou-
ble standard of ageing,asSusan Sontag (1972) wrote in her famous essay not
onlybetween menand women, but also between women themselves?
Hope recalls work by other artists, like Phillip Toledanosseries Days With
My Father,which Reznik has written abrief essayabout (2013).¹¹ After his moth-
erssudden death in 2006,Toledano began to take pictures of his elderlyfather,
who suffers from short-term memory loss, as an ongoing record of my father,
and of our relationship. Forwhatever days we have left together(2006). Toleda-
nosfather cannot remember that his wife has died,orthatheattended her fu-
neral. Toledano describes the unbearable situation: After awhile, Irealised I
couldntkeep tellinghim that his wife had died. He didntremember,and it
was killing both of us, to re-live her death constantly. Idecided to tell him
shedgone to Paris, to take care of her brother,who wassick. And thats
whereshe is now(2006).
Memory or,rather,the loss of it is at the coreofHope. In Russian, Na-
dezhdameans hope.The series is thereforetitled Hope,asisanaccompanying
photobook containing selected images of her grandmother,who suffersfrom Alz-
heimers. Reznik stitched togethereach of the fifteen photobooks by hand.Using
red thread to gather these photographs of her vanishinggrandmother,Reznik
pays tribute to the fact thatNadezhda used to sew clothes for herself and her
children in Soviet times, when there wereshortages in the stores(2019). Further-
more, as bothanartistand Nadezhdasgrandchild,Reznik literallystitched the
 Born in Russia and now livingand working in Germany, Reznik is an artist and photogra-
pher,holds aPhD in philosophyofculture from St.Petersburg StateUniversity,and writes
about photographyand ageing.
138 HannaBaro
pieces of memory for her together in the photo book(2019).¹² Stitchingand sew-
ing are typicallyassociated with womenswork, recalling artists like Annegret
Soltau, who used needle and thread to stitch together photographs of the bodies
of four generations of women: her own, her daughters, her mothers, and her
grandmothers(Generativ Selbst mit Tochter,Mutter und Großmutter,1994
2005). Photographs become corporeal collagesofdifferent generations. The pho-
tographic tradition of portraying oneselderlyparents as aform of copingwith
their ageing process can alreadybeseen in works by Richard Avedon (1993) and
Nan Goldin (Jenkins 2003), among others. Photographyisnot the onlymedium
for documenting and reflecting upon the relationship between the elderly, their
grown-up children, and inevitable loss.Inpas pu saisir la mort (Impossible to
Catch Death)(2007), the French artistSophieCalle filmed her dying mother
over manydaysand hours. An edited eleven-minuteversion of this privateob-
servation at her mothersdeath bed was shownatthe Venice Biennale in
2007.Asked whyshe chose to record such intimate, privatemoments, Calle re-
plied: Ijust wanted to film her death because Ifeared not being thereatthe
very lastmoment,ormissing afinal wordfrom her to me. Apparentlypeople al-
ways choose to die the minute youlook away,soIwanted to be there(Pfeiffer
2010). Filmingthe process of dying and the moment of death is one waytocope
with such existential loss. In Une mort trèsdouce (A Very Easy Death) (1985), Si-
mone de Beauvoir uses the writtenwordtocome to terms with her mothers
death in 1963. Writing ayear later,Beauvoir meticulously recounted the process
of death in aParisian hospital. It is apowerful account of aloved oneslast days,
as well as an honest, extremelypersonal reflection of acomplicated relationship
duringits final six weeks.
Performing Age, PerformingGender
The theme of generation runs through Heidi Krautwalds(*1960) work, although
her photographs speak aslightlydifferent language. The topic of ageing is not as
stronglypresent as in ±100 or TheOld World and Hope. Instead, In der Zwischen-
zeit (In the Meantime) negotiates questions of identity,Krautwaldsrole as a
woman, and the complex, simultaneous role of daughter,mother,and wife.
 My grandmothersname, Nadezhda,means hopein Russian. She has been always inter-
estedinfashion. She used to sew clothes for herself and her children in Soviet times, when there
wereshortagesinthe stores.Now she is 94,blind, and has almost lost her memory duetoAlz-
heimers, but still keeps hopingtobeable to sew again. Iliterallystitched the pieces of memory
for her together in the photobook Hope.(Reznik 2019)
±100: Old Age and New Photography 139
Krautwald began taking photographs of herself in 1982, after her first child was
born. She used the self-portrait as her artistic languagebetween 1982 and 1993,
when she stopped to concentrate on other ways of photography. She returned to
the self-portraits for the Meisterklasse in 2018.¹³ In der Zwischenzeit (fig.8)con-
sists of several photographs,taken between 1982 and the present dayand is ac-
companied by aphotobook.¹By combiningearlyphotographs with later ones,
ageing and the passageoftime in general become evident.Lookingatthe juxta-
Figure 7: Natalya Reznik, Hope,2011-2019
©Natalya Reznik
 Interview with Heidi Krautwald on February 15,2020.
 On displayatthe exhibition wall were fifteen digital photographs(30 x45cm) and six black-
and-white analogphotographs (20x30 cm) (https:// www.
2020/in-der-zwischenzeit/). The photobook consists of eighteenanalogblack and white photo-
graphs and ninety-eight digital photographs.Thereare no titles for anyofthe photographs, but
an index within the photobook reveals the date and placewhere they weretaken.
140 HannaBaro
position of her self-portraitsasayoung woman and anew mother in her early
twenties (fig.9)with works that show her as amature woman in her fifties
(fig.10), we necessarilythink of the time between those two moments, and of
the experiencesofthe woman in the picture. Seeing two photographies of Kraut-
wald, we imagine the time between them the unseen time that has passed from
one moment to the other. Her work shows ageing more subtlythanStengeland
Reznik do. Krautwald joins aphotographic tradition of work, by artists like
Roman Opalkaand Nicholas Nixon, which uses the time in between photographs
of the same people at different stages in their life.¹Opalkasphotographic sec-
tion of his lifelong project 1965 /1is meticulouslyexecuted, like everything
else in the work, with each photograph showing the face of the artistinexactly
the sameposition, with the samefacial expression. Onlybylooking at several
photographs alongside each other can we see the ageing process reflected in
Figure 8: Heidi Krautwald, In der Zwischenzeit,1982-2019 (installation view,Kunstquartier Be-
thanien, Berlin 2020)
©Heidi Krautwald
 Forabrief but excellent analysisofthese twoseries,and especiallytemporality and the age-
ing face, see SabineKampmann, Bilder des Alterns:Greise Körper in Kunstund visueller Kultur
(Berlin: Reimer,2020), 130 135.
±100: Old Age and New Photography 141
his face. In Nixonsseries TheBrown Sisters,the time span between each image
is much longer.Nixon photographed his wife and her three sisters every year
when the familygathered. We see how time has changed their faces,theirbodies,
and the fashion they wear over more thanforty years.
In the photobook accompanying In der Zwischenzeit,Krautwald includes im-
ages in which she poses with her children, representing herself as amother.In
her other works,however,weonlysee the artist herself.Sometimesshe stages
herself recreatingthe settingsand poses of well-known self-portraits by artists
like Frida Kahlo, facing the cameraand the viewer directly. In others, she covers
her face, either with abouquet of flowers,anironingboard, amirror,oranolder
photograph of herself.Some photographs show Krautwaldsnude body, both
younger (fig.11) and older (fig.12).Byincludingportraits in which her naked
bodyisthe main focus, and which enable adirect juxtaposition between her
young and old body, Krautwald makes asubtle statement about the ageing fe-
Figure 9: Heidi Krautwald, In der Zwischenzeit,20x30 cm,1989
©Heidi Krautwald
142 HannaBaro
male bodyand its sexuality atopic which is still to some degree invisibleinour
society.AsKathleen Woodwardwrites, the bodyhas been the locusofattention
for manyyears, but the older female bodyhas been significant onlyinterms of
its absence(2006,162). In Krautwaldswork, the ageing bodyispresent,visible
despite the youthfulness of her later self-portraits. The passageoftime and the
processofageing materialise in the ageing body(Hülsen-Esch et al. 2013,25).
Though Krautwaldsappearance,poses, and bodychangeovertime,one as-
pect is consistent throughout: her long,curlyhair.Time has no effect on Kraut-
waldshair: it does not go grey,apparently, and her hair style does not change
over the years. This is in stark contrast to her body. Does the artist cling to her
long hair as atimeless token of female beauty?¹
Figure 10: Heidi Krautwald, In der Zwischenzeit,30x45 cm, 2019
©Heidi Krautwald
 Hair has acomplex and fascinatinghistoryinthe visual arts and culture. Forastudyonhair
±100: Old Age and New Photography 143
The three artists discussed here offer three quite different perspectivesonageing
and its representation in photography. Stengelswork provides apoetic docu-
ment of old agethrough the personal history of male and female centenarians,
with vitality and autonomyplaying an importantrole. Reznikpresents us with
two scenarios of old age: one optimistic, focused on autopian world in which
ageing is associated with beauty,good health, grace, and activity,and the
other much more personal confronting the viewer with the opposite. Hope
documents the decline of her grandmother,who struggles with all the aspects
of old ageneglected in TheOld World: failing health, memory loss, loss of iden-
tity,loneliness, dependency,frustration and sadness.KrautwaldsIn der Zwi-
schenzeit adds yetanother layer, focusing on the changingrole of awoman
throughout time: from adaughter and young girl to awife and lover,finallystart-
Figure 11: Heidi Krautwald, In der Zwischenzeit,20x30cm, 1987
©Heidi Krautwald
and its cultural implications in art and theory of the fifteenth and sixteenth century,for exam-
ple, see Julia Saviello, Verlockungen: Haare in der Kunst der Frühen Neuzeit (Emsdetten and Ber-
lin: Edition Imorde, 2017).
144 HannaBaro
ing afamily herself. Not onlyage but gender are performed.¹All threeartists
offer afemale perspective on ageing.Stengelfocuses on bothmen and
women, while Reznik and Krautwald look at different representation of women
and ageing in our society.The three artists alsocover abroad spectrum of
ages: from extreme old age(Stengel) to middle age(Reznik in TheOld World)
to youngand middle age, as well as the time span in between those two life
stages (Krautwald). Even though their projects differ,the majority of the works
discussed here are asort of memento mori,asSusan Sontag describes it:
All photographs are memento mori. To take aphotograph is to participateinan-
other persons(or things) mortality,vulnerability,mutability.Preciselybyslicing
Figure 12: Heidi Krautwald, In der Zwischenzeit,30x45 cm, 2018
©Heidi Krautwald
 Cf. Kathleen Woodward. Performing Age, Performing Gender,National WomensStudies
Association Journal (NWSA)1.1 (2006): 162189.
±100: Old Age and New Photography 145
out thus moment and freezingit, all photographs testify to timesrelentless
Mortality,vulnerability and mutability especiallyamong the elderly are
more present than ever in the current healthcrisis. COVID-19has revealedthe
vulnerability of the elderlyinwayswehavemanaged to forget, despite all the
research that has been done into ageing,and despite the increasedvisibility
and appreciation of elderlypeople in our society.¹
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 The British Society of Gerontologyissued apressrelease on March20, 2020, call[ing] on
Government to reject policyresponses to COVID-19 based onlyonchronological age.Their
first keypoint addresses exactlythe ageist and stereotypical view of elderlypeople that still
plays acrucial part in our society: It is wrongand overlysimplistic to regardpeople aged 70
and aboveasbeingvulnerable, aburden, or presenting risks to other people.Manypeople in
this agegroup arefit,well, and playinganactive roleinsociety.Older people participatein
paid work, run businesses, volunteer,are active in civil society and the cultural life of commun-
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peciallythose livingwith disabilities), and grandchildren.Furthermore, the Society expresses
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chronological ageinrestrictingpeoplesrights and freedoms. While people at all ages can be
vulnerabletoCOVID-19, and all can spread the disease, not all people over the ageof70are vul-
nerable, nor all those under 70 resilient.Given older adultsmultiple social roles, quarantining
the morethan 8.5million people over 70 years of agewill deprive society of manypeople who
areproductive and active and whocan be akey part of the solution by supporting the economy,
families and communities.
146 HannaBaro
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Old human bodies are by no means taboo in our visual environment. They are particularly present in photographs and can be found especially in well-known picture formulas from portraits, nudes or representations of stages of life. This new visibility of old age also affects ideas about sexual morality, grandparenthood, generational relationships and courses of life. Sabine Kampmann examines the change in meaning that the images of aging have experienced and shows how photography influences our conceptions of aging. She presents works by Giorgione, Lucas Cranach and Bernardo Strozzi as well as by Nicholas Nixon, Annegret Soltau, Miwa Yanagi, Andres Serrano, Erwin Olaf, Roman Opalka, and Melanie Manchot.
How is the older female body represented in visual mass culture? Contrasting the performance of age in two recent feature films—About Schmidt and Pauline and Paulette—I draw on the strategy of Pauline and Paulette, which focuses on the older female body to the exclusion of the male body. I turn to the work of the artists Louise Bourgeois, Rachel Rosenthal, and Nettie Harris, exploring how they expose, critique, subvert, and exceed what I call "the youthful structure of the look," one that exhorts women to pass for younger once they are a "certain" age. In their work, the female body is presented boldly and bracingly as the continuing site of gender and sexuality. At stake is what I call "feminist aging."
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