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Capturing Wisdom: 100 Photos of the Older Generation

by

Today we pay homage to human beings all over the world who have seen the world spin around on its axis for more days than many can even comprehend. They have laughed, cried, sang, danced, cursed and loved for a lifetime and more and it shows in their demeanor, their expressions, their actions and even in their inaction.

For this reason, elderly generations make superb photography subjects. They deserve to have their stories not only told, but shown. As photographers, we take the latter task upon ourselves and should attempt to capture the truest picture of these individuals that we can. Below we'll discuss a few brief tips for photographing the elderly and then we'll move on to our collection of 100 photos that we feel performed the task admirably.

"Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul. You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope as old as your despair. In the central place of every heart there is a recording chamber. So long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer and courage, so long are you young." - Douglas MacArthur


Don't Be Afraid of Color

old people photography wisdom

Your first instinct when processing a photograph of an older person may be to take it straight to black and white. It's definitely true that black and white photos of these sort can often display much more emotion and character than the original color image, but that doesn't mean there aren't cases where color can't play a major role in the composition.

As an example, consider the image above. Notice how the over-saturated colors reach out and grab you and provide reinforcement to the smiles on the faces of the people in the photo.


Surroundings Are Important

old people photography wisdom

With elderly subjects it is often appropriate to communicate their relationship to the world around them. Whether that be peace, war, love or loneliness, try to communicate the essence of the person's daily experiences.

Again remember that you are not merely taking a photograph but telling a story. Tell it like you see it.

The photo above communicates an undeniable sense of loneliness. It may not be the most pleasant of subjects but there is a strong sense of truth to it.


Capture the Details

old people photography wisdom

While the previous tip suggests pulling back and capturing the world around the subject, here I want to encourage you to zoom in and experiment with different untraditional crops.

Focusing on textures, materials, hands, feet, eyes, etc. really brings a unique sense of depth and emotion to the image. Notice how the cracked lens in the image above is a strong visual metaphor that adds a dose of drama and reality to the photo.


Humor is Acceptable

old people photography wisdom

Never imagine that the people you're photographing have outlived their sense of humor. Showing the elderly being funny in either an intentional or unintentional manner doesn't have to be disrespectful, it can just be funny!

The image above is titled "hair raising experience" and gently pokes fun at the windswept nature of the two wonderfully bizarre people occupying the elevator.


100 Photos of the Older Generation

A Tea-House filled up with people from nowhere

old people photography wisdom

old man grumbling ...

old people photography wisdom

Riga Old Man

old people photography wisdom

Now the Old Man

old people photography wisdom

The old man & the eagle

old people photography wisdom

Old wise man in Bhaktapur

old people photography wisdom

old man near tulips

old people photography wisdom

face - old man

old people photography wisdom

Romanian Old Man

old people photography wisdom

Old man looking

old people photography wisdom

Youth cannot know how age thinks

old people photography wisdom

old man

old people photography wisdom

That Old Man

old people photography wisdom

Old man staring in the far

old people photography wisdom

Old man Sembalun, colour

old people photography wisdom

Old Man of the street

old people photography wisdom

old man and his pint

old people photography wisdom

An Old Man In Takligan

old people photography wisdom

"What it is, youngblood?"

old people photography wisdom

walking alone

old people photography wisdom

Old Man's Sheep

old people photography wisdom

A Smile in Rough Times

old people photography wisdom

I play flute, you enjoy your life

old people photography wisdom

Older's man profile

old people photography wisdom

Bohemian

old people photography wisdom

how to pray the japanese way

old people photography wisdom

Afraid And Worried

old people photography wisdom

9/365

old people photography wisdom

portrait

old people photography wisdom

A Stranger

old people photography wisdom

siena_p (passeggiata)

old people photography wisdom

Good ol' Uncle Sam

old people photography wisdom

Standing, waiting, wishing

old people photography wisdom

I am oily.

old people photography wisdom

Your Shining Darkness

old people photography wisdom

Day 336/365 - Ancient

old people photography wisdom

Working the harvest

old people photography wisdom

GEGE

old people photography wisdom

Seniors Dancing, Mayfest

old people photography wisdom

Senior citizen

old people photography wisdom

The cigar smoker of Viñales, Cuba

old people photography wisdom

Hi, may I?

old people photography wisdom

Loner

old people photography wisdom

old fishing man

old people photography wisdom

Old man in Tel Aviv

old people photography wisdom

old man at newspaper stand

old people photography wisdom

Portrait of an old man

old people photography wisdom

Old Nubian

old people photography wisdom

Old Man 2

old people photography wisdom

Portrait (Castricum, The Netherlands, 2006)

old people photography wisdom

an old lady with an umbrella in Ravangla market!

old people photography wisdom

A very beautiful old lady II

old people photography wisdom

Ricky

old people photography wisdom

Meghwal Elder

old people photography wisdom

Old Women

old people photography wisdom

Old Thai woman

old people photography wisdom

an old woman feeds the crows

old people photography wisdom

today my grandma died

old people photography wisdom

My Grandma

old people photography wisdom

Una giornata d'estate a 93 anni

old people photography wisdom

Untitled

old people photography wisdom

shoes

old people photography wisdom

These youngsters nowadays...

old people photography wisdom

in the fall of life

old people photography wisdom

First Sunny Days - 2

old people photography wisdom

The lady in pink

old people photography wisdom

another woman dressed for the park

old people photography wisdom

SENORA / LADY

old people photography wisdom

Asleep

old people photography wisdom

Makeup

old people photography wisdom

Our Neighbor, Elva

old people photography wisdom

Woman in Totonicapan

old people photography wisdom

sozinha - alone

old people photography wisdom

MX050S15 World Bank

old people photography wisdom

Sweethearts

old people photography wisdom

Couple

old people photography wisdom

Waiting...1

old people photography wisdom

Elderly couple

old people photography wisdom

Now and then

old people photography wisdom

Matriarch

old people photography wisdom

Attached Couple (Weekly Assignment)

old people photography wisdom

Side by Side

old people photography wisdom

Substance

old people photography wisdom

DSC_0162

old people photography wisdom

Anziana coppia di gambe

old people photography wisdom

2010_01.23-5329

old people photography wisdom

B&W&G

old people photography wisdom

Happiness is..

old people photography wisdom

Washington Square Park

old people photography wisdom

Unspoken conversation ...

old people photography wisdom

Happy old folks

old people photography wisdom

Growing old

old people photography wisdom

The beacon

old people photography wisdom

Strolling Down the Walk.

old people photography wisdom

Remember

old people photography wisdom

Meet you under the bridge

old people photography wisdom

So very long ago

old people photography wisdom

6pm

old people photography wisdom

Old Couple

old people photography wisdom

Old people in Lijiang, China

old people photography wisdom

#056 - Old people.

old people photography wisdom

3 Generations (in the Fog of Life)

old people photography wisdom


Share Your Photos!

We hope you found the images above to be inspiring and that they encourage you to visit your grandparents and other elderly people in your life to capture their stories.

Leave a comment below with a link to some photos you've taken depicting the lives and experiences of the elderly and tell us a little about the people in the photos.

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