Monday, April 23, 2007

Day One: Mission Old Folks Home

My first day on the job went pretty well. Very eventful. First, I drove my Gammy to the liquor store to get a bottle of sherry. She ended up buying TWO bottles of sherry and a bottle of wine for yours truly to which I said, "Thanks, Gammy! You really didn't have to do that," to which SHE responded, "What are grandmother's for?" and we giggled heartily. Once we returned to the complex, we adjourned to the "winery", or room where the Folks can grab some cheese and crackers and a couple of glasses of wine. I'm told that some of the residents are limited to two glasses "for obvious reasons". I guess alcoholism doesn't just get rid of itself after all. The last time I went to the Winery, which gave me the idea for this project in the first place, I was struck by the energy of the place. They have a woman playing the piano at the front of the room, and people will just bust out singing as loudly as they can. She mostly plays old standard tunes, but there is this man, Ferguson, who has the mot beautful rag-timey voice ever and he always sings the loudest. He's kind of the star. I really want to take his picture someday but I'm shy. This other man, Max, sits with Gammy, Ira, and I.
He is the sweetest man ever. He's very gentle and softspoken, with a bit of a lisp. He is so impressed that Gammy knows all of the songs played on the piano, that they play a little game of Name That Tune every time. He was telling me today about how much he misses his wife, and how they spent 55 beautiful years together. He told me that their idea of a perfect date was going dancing, then to an Italian restaurant for pizza. She died almost two years ago, in October. Ira, my Gammy's boyfriend, was a really famous photographer (he took the famous picture of Sophia Loren staring at Jayne Mansfield's cleavage).

He was giving me pointers the whole time.

He thought that cookie looked like a mad face.
There was some slight drama, however, when I was approached by one of a group of ladies that seem to be the equivalent of "Mean Girls". Gossip is actually a big deal here, according to Gammy. I was just singing along with Ferguson, when this woman calls to me and I'm thinking she is going to ask for me to take her picture, but she lets me know that I "really should ask permission before I take people's picture". What a Debbie Downer. So, more later.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Mission Old Folks Home?

I had an idea, and it came out of my fingertips like so:

*Photography Project: April 2007/ Sally Glass

Active Living for Independent Seniors. With all the restrictions that accompany late age; emotional, mental, physical, financial, how do the seniors in our community and the world deal? What are the psychological effects of getting older in this day and age? Does the government help? Do children help? Do Independent Centers for the Active Elderly help? Thanks to modern science, life spans are longer and good health can maintain to a very late point in life. However, how does the fear of impending death arise in those 70, 80, 90 + year olds?

Through my photographs and related research, I want to illustrate the energy that still exists within the aging community, as well as perhaps expose a nerve that must always be dealt with as one gets to "that age". In a place where the person you sit with at dinner could expire tomorrow, how does one cope? What are the natural reactions for someone who knowingly inhabits the last place they ever will? Inspired by Lauren Greenfield's work on THIN, I hope to document and capture these residents in their element, and by listening to their stories revisit the lives well lived and find out how they deal with a certain fate with uncertain time limits. I will visit the center several times a week to do this.

Meh? Me?

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Buffalo Street Style

While walking around on a beautiful Buffalo day, Emily, Jake, and I devised a plan to document the fabulous fashion sense of Buffalonians. We decided to be field reporters from the website, Black Market Funnel Cakes, who were fascinated by the local street style, and "Would you mind if we took your picture?"

Most didn't, except for Sports Fan Grandma (we'll get her next time). Here are the real gems: