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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Relating to the Older Women I Photograph

Photographing older women (and I don't mean old women...just women who are older than me) can be an intimidating experience. I think I get all psyched out because I have no way of knowing what's going on inside their heads. I know what teenage girls are thinking - what they like - what they want to look like etc... I know what girls around my own age want. But it's hard for me to relate to how older women are feeling about themselves and what they want their photo shoot experience to be like. 

Sure I can guess. I get feedback here and there. But my confidence isn't as strong when I'm creating an experience for them. I don't know if their bodies will be able or comfortable in some of the poses. I don't know if they need their glasses to read the model release. I don't know if they want to wear "mature clothes" or prance around in a tutu. I'm afraid they just humor me — rolling their eyes in amusement as they wear a tutu as a sign of support for a young business woman tryin' to make it in this economy. 

I know this makes me sound age-ist or something but I'm just trying to be honest. I'm more than happy to treat them like I treat ALL women in the studio. I mean they are still just women, after all. Maybe I over think it. I'm just trying to be sensitive to other people's feelings. It's tricky water to navigate. Oh and there's the whole issue of being in the leadership role in my studio but feeling strange 'bossing' around older people because I'm fresh out of school — a world where age determines rank. I guess the age difference makes me feel young, inexperienced, unsure of my mission and message. I'd like to think that I come across as being sooo fabulously mature for my age and nobody has any idea that these thoughts are going through my mind. No doubt this will all fall into place naturally over time. Plus, as I age, every year I can relate to another age of women, right!? Plus side.

The first woman I photographed who was older than me was Jan (see photo below!). I'd been photographing women for maybe 2 weeks at this point. I was super enthusiastic, bounding with energy and wondering if I was going down the right path. Her story confirmed for me that photographing women was exactly how I want to spend my life. Read Jan's story here.