The June, 2010 cover of The Gerontologist features one of my many images of aging. I have been photographing human aging for the past twenty years, and this magazine has been publishing my work as cover art since 1996. Links to more Gerontologist covers as well as other photos of aging are at on my photography website.
This photograph featuring Robert and Esther Wolf was taken in Venice Beach about two years ago at the Israel Levin Senior Center. Set among tattoo parlors and marijuana dispensaries, this center provides a social outlet for the dwindling population of aging Jews in the neighborhood.
When I met Robert and Esther, I was struck by their enthusiastic love for each other that was plainly apparent. They told me of their 70 year marriage, and their long life together as a couple. When I asked Robert the secret to their marriage, he told me “I sing her a love song every night, and a different love song every morning.”
We live in a society that marginalizes the elderly. Wrinkles and stooped gait, once emblems of dignity and wisdom, often elicit avoidance and disdain. Images of aging that present old people in a positive, healthful manner are indeed difficult to find. My images show a side of human life that our culture has conditioned us to turn away from, with the goal of challenging stereotypes and reformulating our perceptions of growing old.