by: SUSIE LANG
My work with WOMEN.60.PLUS, started back in 2017. Back then, it was in an effort to show older women how visible they really are.
In turning 60, I felt I was invisible not only to the world, but as my work progressed, invisible to myself. I needed to change this. And I wanted to know if I really was alone in my “pre-golden” years in my 60’s, or if there were others out there!
Working with extraordinary women, all over 60, I discovered an immense depth of resilience, maturity, wisdom and the deep desire to be authentic to self (individual and collective). Being in profound connection with ALL these women resonates — it seems to be about mutual love.
I have also noticed a deep yearning to be seen, to feel a sense of belonging, to feel as though we matter to another and to be heard. After all, we’ve lived a long life, had buckets of life experience. Is it that most women gather emotional and fundamental support from other women — a parallel depth of understanding, a sense of knowing? I believe so.
As the focus on Women.60.plus work continues to evolve, things are changing in me – it’s as if my work has become much more intimate and sensitive on an emotional depth for myself and with those women who chose to be photographed by me. There’s a part of me that grieves the loss of not doing more — and quite honestly, I have realized that I can’t do more that I can do – I get too tired! There’s a part of me that feels comforted in offering small amounts to a community where women are often overshadowed – and this is my narrow path and it is my hope to continue shining our collective light.
In my work, and in “the art of connection” I come alive when in our photoshoots!
In my W60+ photoshoots, I aim to give much attention to my sitters. We talk, we laugh, we share stories, we cry. I sometimes give direction, other times not. And at times we stop for a cuppa! The longer my shoots the more relaxed and inevitably the more striking each woman becomes. I LOVE capturing this connection – as we work, I show these images to each woman – it’s as if they’re seeing themselves for the first time! Being seen/heard is simply magical! I get a “felt-sense” when I have “the shot”. Goosebumps!
In this connection, they radiate from within. In this brief time, there is so much rich of life experience, a sense of knowing, a sense of personal power, empowerment, self-awareness and acceptance. It is the JOY in finding another and self on a similar life path. There is a deep and intimate connection that reveals much for many – it is a double-sided gift.
What a mutual celebration this is. I have much gratitude to those who have had the courage to be in front of my camera. I often don’t like having photographs taken of myself, BUT it has enabled me to question and be curious as to WHY I feel like this. It’s very revealing on many levels! I realize that as I work as a photographer, I am the woman behind the camera. And as simple as that sounds, and as I work, my camera seems to disappear – in that we connect, woman to woman. That is a true celebration!