Aging Gracefully: Portraits of People Over 100

Karsten Thormaehlen. Chronicle, $29.95 (120p) ISBN 978-1-4521-4533-4
Thormaehlen, a German photographer, follows 2011’s Happy at Hundred with the latest output of his decades-long interest in photographing elderly people around the world. This collection features 52 simple naturalistic, color headshots of joyful, wrinkled centagenarians from all over the world, including Iceland, Japan, Peru, and the United States. Each portrait is presented side by side with a short, stylized biography drawn from conversations between Thormaehlen and his subjects during photographing sessions. Some of these mini biographies summarize notable life events in a few sentences (Olivia Hooker, an American, notes a scarring encounter with the KKK during the 1921 race riot in Tulsa, Okla.), and serve as miniature chronicles of social development over the 20th century. Others focus on the subject’s daily life, with tales of hobbies and visits from grandchildren. Life advice seeps into the paragraph on Johanna Spiekermann, whose husband died when she was 24, as she explains that her recipe for a long life is “a certain defiance” of tragedy. With sharp focus and studio lighting, the photos of these often smiling seniors depict appreciation of life through mischievous eyes and laugh lines, age spots and soft smiles, fragile skin and thoughtful looks. This is a gentle and uplifting celebration of the tail end of human experience. Color photos. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2017
Release date: 03/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 120 pages - 978-1-4521-6053-5
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