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LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 30-Jan-14 11:12:08

Beauty in older women

This week's second guest blog post comes from Edo Zollo, who has been traveling England and Wales, challenging society's view of older women. Edo's upcoming photography exhibition shows the beauty in older women, rather than the stereotypes that persist.

Edo Zollo

Beauty in Older Women

Posted on: Thu 30-Jan-14 11:12:08


Lead photo

Joyce, posing for Edo.

"Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety" – Shakespeare

I have been putting together a project celebrating beauty with 10 photographs of gorgeous women over 65. The photos challenge the stereotyped view of ageing women as unattractive and "past it".
I wanted to explore the reality of women getting older yet still feeling attractive, and to emphasise the wisdom, experience and beauty of age. I have travelled from the North to the South of England and Wales, meeting a lot of women.

After a year of travelling, emails, calls and meetings I am over the moon to announce that I have done it and photographed 10 women (Carol, Gillian, Hazel, Joyce, Margaret, Myra, Solange, Val, Vikki, Gubbise) from age 67 to 79 years old. The photographs feature the women in classical portrait poses, but in contemporary urban settings.

The longer we live the more experience and insights we gain, and I am excited to hear their stories.

In celebrating the beauty in older women, I tried to show as much as possible the life behind the picture. This is why I have also interviewed the women participants and encouraged them to write or talk a little about themselves, why they took part, and how they see themselves as they get older.

The longer we live the more experience and insights we gain, and I am excited to hear their stories. Margaret, who I recently photographed on London's South Bank, has said of the project:

"This is not about being attractive this is about showing that it is okay for older women to be noticed and admired, as older women seem to become "invisible"."

I am currently busy working on preparing the exhibition, which will open soon in central London, free entry. Stay tuned for dates & locations.

By Edo Zollo

Twitter: @beautyolder

sue01 Fri 31-Jan-14 13:01:33

What a fantastic idea this is ! My particular fascination is with how some women age better than others...I'm not talking Botox here... I just mean some everyday women who always manage to look fantastic.

How do they do it ? And what are they doing - or not doing - compared with the rest of us ??

weedswoman Fri 31-Jan-14 13:25:14

Age is the big illusion and I love the way you have shown that beauty is much more lasting than age would try to tell us, it is different to glamour and different to style and something enduring. If the camera can find it, so can I with my little eye.

Tegan Fri 31-Jan-14 13:25:41

I saw Joan Bakewell on Have I Got News for You recently; boy does she look amazing [as well as being highly intelligent and incredibly funny]. sue; I think it's all down to cheekbones, cheekbones and cheekbones.....

Ana Fri 31-Jan-14 13:28:51

Yes, good bone structure and good genes!

gillybob Fri 31-Jan-14 13:34:24

I'm sorry but I find that picture horrible. I would find an overweight, dimply legged, white haired man horrible too.

gillybob Fri 31-Jan-14 13:37:17

Oooooops meant to add. I have never been what could be described as attractive (not even when I was young) but I can appreciate beauty but I can't understand or see the beauty in a middle aged or even old person stripped half naked in a car park. Yuk.

Tegan Fri 31-Jan-14 13:43:16

I agree, gillybob. Thinking mutton dressed as lamb in that photo.

Nelliemoser Fri 31-Jan-14 13:49:28

Well it would help if they had taken the photograph somewhere with a bit better lighting.

gillybob Fri 31-Jan-14 13:55:03

Do you think so Nelliemoser ? Better lighting might have meant we got to see even more dimples and ripples of fat. Yuk. Should have been in total darkness then I might have appreciated it ! grin

Ana Fri 31-Jan-14 13:57:18

What a lot of mean comments! hmm

gillybob Fri 31-Jan-14 13:59:23

I am feeling mighty mean today only being honest Ana and surely the Blog was inviting comments good and bad.

nightowl Fri 31-Jan-14 14:14:57

I think older women can be very beautiful, wrinkles and all. The problem with that photo is that the way the woman is presented subscribes to a very young, modern ideal of 'beauty' ie strapless dress, legs on show, all of which shows off young smooth flesh to full advantage. It does nothing to show the character and signs of a life well lived that add beauty and depth to a face as it ages. I think the question is not 'does beauty in older women exist?' but 'what is beauty and how do we define it?'

petallus Fri 31-Jan-14 14:31:03

Some years ago I saw an exhibition of photos of very old wrinkled men and women and they were beautiful but not in the same way young people are beautiful.

petallus Fri 31-Jan-14 14:32:17

The woman in the picture seems to be striking a defensive, age minimising pose to me.

rockgran Fri 31-Jan-14 15:04:42

I agree with nightowl - the youthful pose does not capture the true beauty of the older woman (or man). In fact I think it just highlights the attributes lost.

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 31-Jan-14 15:07:21

She seems very proud of her varicose veins!

grannyactivist Fri 31-Jan-14 15:13:20

I have a Norwegian friend who is fifty years old and she is beautiful. She will always be beautiful I expect because she has a wonderful complexion, good bone structure and a calm and caring nature that somehow shines through. Hmm, I suspect if you wrapped her in a bedsheet in an ugly car park with dim lighting and took a photo from some distance it might be a little hard to perceive her natural beauty. hmm

michelleblane Fri 31-Jan-14 17:07:10

I also think she would look better with her legs covered! I always think Twiggy looks pretty good in the M&S ads.

Nonu Fri 31-Jan-14 17:30:11

well twiggy would , if she has not had work done I will go to the bottom of our stairs !!

J52 Fri 31-Jan-14 17:57:48

M&S probably have air brushed her!! X

Grannyknot Fri 31-Jan-14 19:34:43

petallus and nightowl have hit the nail on the head with what is wrong with that photograph. It makes me feel decidedly uncomfortable. And I am sure that Joyce does have a certain beauty, but it is not captured here.

I also wonder why she agreed to pose in that way, I'd have been directing the photoshoot myself.

Nonu Fri 31-Jan-14 19:40:11

I thought it fine , except for the knees .
Pretty brave , quite a handsome woman IMO

Eloethan Fri 31-Jan-14 22:21:55

i've come to the conclusion that happy people, with a smile on their face, tend to be more attractive. A smile lifts the face. No amount of botox, face lifts, etc., etc., can produce the same effect.

gillybob Fri 31-Jan-14 23:13:37

Two pairs of glasses for £90 at Asda . grin