Refocusing our visions of youth and old age

COLUMBIA, Mo 5/15/14 (Beat Byte) --  "You have only a few years in which to live really, perfectly, and fully," Lord Henry Wotton explains in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray.   "When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it." 

One hundred and twenty years later, another artist is dashing that idea.  Columbia photographer Anastasia Pottinger is getting some big-time national and international notice for a unique series of black-and-white portraits, some of which feature a 101 year-old woman modeling nude.  

"Beautifully done!"  "Incredible photographs," are among dozens of comments at the art and photography site Bored Panda, where over 80,000 people have viewed the photos, from a collection Pottinger calls simply Centenarians.

"This body of work was born out of the opportunity I had to photograph a 101 year old woman who volunteered, on her own accord, to model nude for me," Pottinger -- a Heart Beat Artist of the Month -- explains on her studio site.  "The response to the images has been remarkable.   Viewers are visibly moved by what they are looking at. Whether it’s wondering, 'is this what I’m going to look like?' or remembering a loved one – the response seems to be universally emotional on some level."  
Though Pottinger has exhibited the collection on- and offline for months, including a December exhibition at PS: Gallery in Columbia, Centenarians started to make the international rounds this week, with stories in major online magazines such as Boing Boing and Gizmodo

"The black-and-white photographs capture intricate, textured visuals of wrinkles, marks and pores that are so detailed that viewers can forget they're looking at human skin, and not an abstract visual," writes Rahul Kalvapalle for Trendhunter, a magazine about current trends and fashions.  

An ongoing discussion at the mega-popular Metafilter site features some of the most insightful commentary. 

"The way the photographer lighted (lit?) and photographed her skin reminds me of one of the classic landscape photographers of the southwest," one viewer explains.    "The lines and layers and textures are beautiful, and I'm glad she chose to emphasize that beauty." 

View Centenarians online here