I wonder I didn’t come earlier across Katrin Trautner’s work of older people having sex. It’s definitely a very interesting body of work and good for me to keep in mind.

“This work seeks to provide an insight into an aspect of everyday life to which a blind eye is generally turned. It endeavours to illustrate one of the manifold aspects of normal life experience.”

Morgenliebe

© Katrin Trautner

Tomorrow our exhibition will come down. Time to share my book and thoughts about my project “If you are lucky, you get old”.

In August I mentioned that I made the decision to do a project about elderly gays, since I felt nobody really thought of old people as being homosexual. But also in general in my surroundings and every day life old people seemed to be invisible. I couldn’t feel their presence although I knew that they were somewhere there. Thinking of them or of myself becoming old made me worried and pitiful. Wrinkles, disease and decay came to mind. What actually happened to the times when the old were the wise and taught the young about life? Having so little knowledge about the elderly, I went out to retirement communities in the U.S. to find out more. First I went to a gay retirement home in Portland. After spending a week there I travelled to Palm Springs where I stayed for around 5 weeks meeting old people in senior centres.

To my surprise, the elderly I met were not just proud of their age and the fact that they made it that far in life, they were also still falling in love and breaking up. They were overcoming their lifetime partner’s death, living out their erotic fantasies or dealing with the loss of their sexual desire. Talking to them showed me that inner growths is ever lasting and that humans even above the age of seventy continue to love, suffer, long, dream and have sexual feelings.

In my project ‘If you are lucky, you get old’, I decided finally to capture encounters with the elderly and to tell stories of those I spent time with. To not create just another segregated and enclosed group I eventually decided to open the project up and to focus on both straight and queer seniors. Here you can have a look inside the book. I am pretty happy with it to be honest.

Final Show

December 17, 2009

The opening of our show was really fun. Many people came to see our work and to celebrate the end of our Masters. For those, who couldn’t make it have a look below. You can still go and check it out, the show is on until the 15.01.2010.

MA Final Show

November 23, 2009

I know, I am at the moment horrible with blogging. However, I have an excuse to neglect my blog, since I am preparing my show for my Masters.

The show opens on the 9th of December. After that, I will find more time to put new stuff up. But hopefully I will also have my new webpage by next week up and running. Until then have a look at the work of  my classmates and me, and come either to the show at the LCC in London or check our page at http://www.28stories.co.uk/

A Foretaste

October 19, 2009

After disappearing for a couple of weeks, I am finally back in London! While working in the U.S. on my project about the elderly, I couldn’t bring myself to post something new. I stayed mainly in Palm Springs, where I had to face 46 degrees! Yes, I learnt my lesson about doing research!

Besides sweating and swearing, I met the nicest old people: Rae, Dennis, Thelma, Chris and others. I am planning to  make a book, in which I would like to tell their stories and share what they taught me:

Which is for instance that life even in an old age still can be complex and rich. You love, suffer, long, dream and have sexual feelings until you die. It doesn’t matter if you are 30, 50, 70 or 80 years old.

But more about that later. For now you can find below a tiny foretaste.

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Rae, 80

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Dennis, 76

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Thelma, 82

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Chris, 70 and John, 75

Gay and Lesbian Elderly

August 6, 2009

My new project will be about gay and lesbian seniors. There exists so little photography about the elderly in general and of gay and lesbian elderly there are hardly no pictures at all. With my project I attempt to make this group, which is mostly unvisible visible.

Richard Renaldi did some nice work about this topic: http://www.renaldi.com/portfolio/elderly1.html:

Roy and William john and fred

And I also love the work of Naomi Harris, who documented the last hotel in South Beach that catered to senior citizens. The project, called “Haddon Hall Hotel ” received The International Prize for Young Photojournalism. I feel her pictures are humorous but also sensitive. Check it out on her hompage: http://www.naomiharris.com

naomi harris

Naomi Harris 2