Last week I had my picture taken by an extremely talented photographer from an excellent photography agency, both of whom we will leave unnamed.
A rep from the photo agency claimed to have visited ChangingAging.org to learn more about me. I found that claim doubtful when I received this email regarding options for touching-up my photos:
We can send you examples of what we can do to skin and wrinkles around eyes to make the portrait more appealing to a wider audience.
Regular ChangingAging readers will appreciate the irony. For those not familiar with my personal view of wrinkles, here’s an outtake from my book, What are Old People For:
People fear wrinkles because of what they seem to say about us. They are the sum of all the days we have lived and will never live again. They tell our story even when we do not want that story told. Even the attempt to erase them becomes part of what is written on our faces. We- the doers, the movers, the shakers, the achievers, the rocks of our families and communities- are being written upon. It shocks us to see ourselves, for the first time, as paper and not the pen we imagine ourselves to be.
Wrinkles are painless and harmless. They are us and we are them.
Now if only they’d offered to make me look older and wiser…
Beth Sanders says
GREAT picture. It reflects a life well lived. Joys and challenges. Every wrinkle tells a story.
Lori La Bey says
Bill, I love you are speaking up proud and totally satisfied with who you are and what you look like! Kudos. These idiots will never learn to appreciate the unfolding beauty of age if we don’t take a stand. I had one photographer remove my dimples and age lines by my eyes which I call laugh lines which I’m damn proud of! He couldn’t put them back when I told him I didn’t want them removed. He was shocked that I wanted them to show. His photography was great but he ruined all the pictures as they no longer looked like me! I thought how did he miss the purpose of the photo shot in the first place? Don’t people want a picture that looks like them???? I guess not. I remember thinking how strange to be so preoccupied with looking younger and trying to make us all look the same… I found it sad, yet hilarious at the same time. The only thing it gave me was the reassurance that I’m ok with me and what I look like…the good, the bad, the ugly, the wrinkles and lines… and everything in between and coming down the pike.
Joan Barber says
Hi Dr. Bill,
ROTFL!!! As an actor who has faced the issue of photo re-touching ever since I had my first headshot taken when I was 22, I find your story hilariously ironic. I am constantly having to tell photographers to “leave the wrinkles alone!!!” When I walk in the door I don’t want someone to look from my picture to my face and say “Who the heck is that?” By the way, my last photographer was a fabulous woman of my age, who totally got where I was coming from. She knew she could take ten pounds and/or ten years off my body and face and she barely did a thing to my pictures. I am proud to have survived over 60 years on this crazy planet, learned and grown, and although I confess that I am tempted by all the anti-aging ads I’m wearing my wrinkles on my 8×10’s as well as my face today.
Jenny Eisenberg says
“It shocks us to see ourselves, for the first time, as paper and not the pen we imagine ourselves to be.”
What a beautiful reflection of self-realization over time. I for one am looking forward to reading your book!
Your photography is wonderful; truly warm, human and real. I’m so glad you recognized that not a thing needed to be done to improve it.
Terry Woodson Burger says
Terry Woodson Burger says
I’m with you. Dammit, I EARNED this face. Interesting, though, how many obits you see with photos that are decades old, portraying the departed in their early years. Always meant to do a story on that, but haven’t gotten around to it.
[email protected] says
Could not have been better said Bill! Amen!
Elder Depot says
Wonderful perspective! 🙂 I’m glad to hear that someone isn’t ashamed of their humanity in this digitally airbrushed age.
I agree about the wrinkles but you might want to look at the jacket. 🙂
Greta Doucet says
I always look at the eyes Yours are so warm Age does not destroy the warmth in the eyes.