Beauty and Wisdom presents women, aged 70 and over, who have been going regularly to the beauty parlor once a week, not as a luxury, but as a necessity for most of their adult years. This project explores the grace and courage in which these women age. Ironically, these are the women who opened doors for future generations of women, yet they are now part of an invisible generation.
The women in this overlooked generation may be invisible to many, but they are quite visible to me and even more so since I began driving throughout the country to interview and photograph these amazing women for Beauty and Wisdom.
It is my goal to not only preserve and highlight the role of these golden beauties in our culture, but also to demystify the aging stigma and show that older women are beautiful, vibrant and have very much to contribute to society.
These lively crones live in a culture where the beauty of youth is hugely valued but the beauty of age is often ignored. In beauty parlors across America, this fading generation of women share their humor and wisdom, as I learned in New Orleans when Mrs. Guste, 88, who lost every piece of her jewelry when her house was looted during Hurricane Katrina, reminded me, "everything is borrowed and when it goes away, it's time to give it back.”
Beauty and Wisdom provided insight into my own future. As I photographed the women, I listened in on their conversations and looked into their eyes and saw the kind of courage that comes from embracing life fully without expectations, except to be happy and connected to people. Their "take me as I am" attitude has given me permission to age fearlessly with no regrets and reasons to look forward to my own aging process.