Monday, March 31, 2008

The Face of Age

Living in Three Centuries:
The Face of Age

For twenty years, Mark Story located and traveled to the homes centenarians, people that are over 100 years old, and even super centenarians, people that are over 110 years old.
The way these portraits are shot, closely cropped around the face and with high contrast, in a way objectifies their existence. Their heads are disembodied and made to look mask-like. At first glance the intimate details of the face incites a bit of a surprise. But overall the stories with the portraits give a strong sense of humanity.

102 year-old
Chinese man,
a farmer
who started working
at age four.

He had huge hands
on a frail body.

He said,
"I would never
stop working."

101 year-old
Mongolian woman
who had lived through
nineteen life-killing droughts
and forty-seven years
of brutal Communist repression.

the Communists did not like
the independent spirit
of the Mongolian people.

She was four feet tall,
seventy pounds,
and in perfect health.

110 year 115 day-old
man of German and Irish descent.

He served in the Army in World Wars I and II
and then worked as a railroad brakeman.
During the Depression
he traveled much of the country
riding the rails with hobos.

At 102, he was walking ten miles a day.
Now he walks three miles a day and can still
read the bottom three lines on an eye chart.
He gave up drinking in his 60s,
but smoked into his 80s.

He continues to work a few hours a week
at a tanning salon/espresso cafe.

He said, "I still chase
good-looking women around.
I just can't catch up with them —
my legs don't work fast enough."

112 year 111 day-old
African American man —
the 16th oldest living person in the world,
and the oldest living man in the USA.

The oldest living World War I
combat veteran —
he earned the Victory Medal,
the Occupational Medal,
as well as the Legion of Honor —
France's highest honor given
to surviving members of U.S. Armed Forces
who fought on French soil during World War I.

He returned home to farming,
married, had seven children,
and served as the superintendent
of his Sunday School class for 75 years.

He never smoked or drank alcohol;
and he takes no medicine, not even aspirin.

He drove until the age of 106,
when his children
decided to hide his car keys from him.

114 Year 226 day-old
African American woman —
the 3rd oldest living person in the world,
and 2nd oldest living woman in the USA.

Both of her parents were slaves.

The family ate the food they grew.
She never watched her diet
and was never heavy.

She never smoked or drank,
and was 100 years old when
she first saw a doctor.

She was married to her second husband
for 72 years and has
3 children,
5 grandchildren,
46 great-grandchildren,
95 great-great-grandchildren,
and 38 great-great-great-grandchildren.

102 year-old
Chinese woman
who had lived her entire life
in the same mud house,
which stood behind the Beijing Hotel.

She spoke of
living through the
rule of China's last Emperor,
the Boxer Rebellion,
two World Wars
and the Communist Party's
rise to power.

She was afraid her home
was going to be torn down
because the hotel
was expanding.

110 year 320 day-old
American man
of Native American, African American
and Swedish descent —
the 44th oldest living person in the world.

His father stood on the platform
next to President Abraham Lincoln
as Lincoln gave
the Gettysburg Address.
His father was the illegitimate son
of Lincoln's Vice-President,
Andrew Johnson,
who became President
after Lincoln's assassination.

He is quickwitted, opinionated,
blind, talkative
and one of the last
living veterans of World War I.

"Why have you lived this long?"
I asked. He said,
"I don't fool around with women,
beer, wine or whiskey."


H+ said...

lol i can't imagine spawning that many people. 95 great great grandchildren.

this photo series was up on boingboing today. similar thoughts.

meebo said...

ai!! don't know how i feel about the disembodied heads. the photos alone, without the text to provide some personality, are kind of frightening.. dont think i want to live that long.