We strive to hold onto our youth, equating it with strength and beauty. However, one photographer is using her work to shine a light on a different beauty – the beauty of those who have lived 100 years or more.
While there is no one clear definition of beauty, for most in today’s society the term has come to describe the young slender models that walk the catwalks during fashion week and the rugged men that make their way onto the covers of GQ magazine. However, Missouri photographer Anastasia Pottinger is challenging that concept, introducing a new form of beauty.
Her ‘Centenarians’ photo series features models that are all 100 years of age or older, their bodies a reflection of their life experiences, time and wisdom. While they may not possess the clear skin and wrinkle-free facial features of the young models, their bodies tell a story of an incredible life well-lived. Pottinger published the full collection in her book ‘100: What Time Creates’. The book promises to “invite you to delve into the drama and startling beauty of the human body in its later years.”
Pottinger revealed that the idea came to her when a 101-year old woman asked to be photographed in the nude, under one condition – that you couldn’t identify her from any of the photographs. The images that resulted were so beautiful in their own, unique way that she decided to seek out more centenarian models. Each image is carefully shot to capture the unique story told by that individual person’s body after over 100 years of walking this planet.
“The response to the images has been remarkable,” Pottinger stated. “Viewers are visibly moved by what they are looking at. Whether it’s wondering, ‘is this what I’m going to look like?’ or remembering a loved one – the response seems to be universally emotional on some level.”
Not only has she collected all of her beautiful images in a book, making them readily available to anyone around the globe that would like to view them, she has also been given the opportunity to share her work in an open, public forum. This month, her images are on display at the Hardwick Gallery at Columbia College, her first solo exhibition of the project. At the same time, her efforts are being picked up and shared by the mainstream media around the world including the UK and Polish media.
Here is a collection of some of Anastasia Pottinger’s work from her Centenarians photo series: