This project owes its existence to a revelation I experienced when I encountered Marie-Berthe, a young 102-year-old beauty whose ease and casualness in front of the lens was as impressive as it was inspiring. I was immediately taken with the old woman and the way she totally - almost unconsciously - felt beautiful and attractive and was not afraid to show it off. What if beauty could not be reduced to an idealized aesthetic? What if, beyond the traces left by the passage of time on our features, beauty could be something less tangible but more lasting? This vision is far removed from learned ideas and clichés commonly associated with beauty. It doesn’t have to be something that we are born with or without and neither does it have to be the privilege of youth. Beauty has to be much more and, hopefully much better, than this. It is a way of being. Something to cultivate, teach and learn from, and something that each of the nine women, and four men, that reveal themselves in this project are marvelous examples of. As models, they have been a great inspiration to me and it is my hope that my portraits will transmit their spirit and maybe also a precious lesson on the venerable art of aging. The elders whose intimacy is revealed and celebrated here share with me a notion of beauty and sensuality that inspires a state of grace. Lightness and depth are here side by side in a provocative but thoroughly pleasurable display. Like dozens of other potential subjects, the models featured here answered my invitation issued on social media over the last few years. They were willing to contribute in their own way to redefine the way we view beauty, sensuality and old age.
Borrowing from the conventions of Nude and Boudoir photography, the pictures show my fascination with the human body and its great potential for emotional expression. It is therefore of great importance to me to establish a strong bond with my models, with the goal of laying them bare both physically and psychologically. The subjects, captured in their uniqueness, diversity and vulnerability, are sublimated by the use of black-and-white which enhances their presence and adds a poetic dimension to each portrait. These pictures also aim to illustrate my irritation with the very conformist way we view beauty and with the pervasive presence of certain imagery that subdue many people into body shaming and a fear of getting old. Camera in hand, I hope to offer different images here – pictures that celebrate a diversity of bodies as well as a different way of feeling beautiful and sensuous.
After working for many years on photo projects related to old age, Arianne noticed that there is a deep and wide-spread need to celebrate love, sexuality and beauty in seniors, along with a desire to break taboos about sexuality in old age. The art of aging queer echoes Arianne's sensitivity to the marginalized, the mavericks, and her concern for the well-being and fulfillment of her friends, colleagues and acquaintances from queer communities. Arianne's incompre-hension and revulsion in the face of the discrimination and violence that members of the LGBTQ+ community still suffer, despite significant progress made in recent decades, also motivated the creation of this series. This project aims to promote inclusivity, diversity, acceptance and openness toward others Five queer models volunteered to participate in this series. The participants, despite comparable ages, come from very different worlds, and express both contrasting and nuanced conceptions of homosexuality. Five models, five unique life paths in the margins of society, five visions reflected in the photographic works of this series, each of which contributes to our understanding of what it means to be queer. The photos of the art of aging queer were shot in August 2021. They are the result of long and beautiful encounters between the photographer and her models. Photo shoots often span several hours, and in some cases, several days, which is essential to building a strong bond of trust. These sessions give an important role to improvisation; identifying how these people want to be represented, and feel beautiful, is an integral part of Arianne's approach that promotes a collaborative spirit and sensitivity.
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