As Ian pointed out in his comment on the previous post of Smoking Newport, I had decided to do a little project of Senior Ladies that day. I had noticed there were quite a few more mature ladies, especially around the market area.
I am picking my words carefully here. I would not wish to offend any of them, although I think if you spoke to them most of them would say they are no Spring Chickens, as I would say myself. What they have on their side though, is knowledge & experience, which is what a lot of youngsters forget. Ian also told me his response to youngsters who call him old is “I have reached this age but you may not!” Which is very true.
This is when I first spotted this lady, who seemed very cheerful. I then noticed her sitting on a bench chatting to another lady, whilst having a smoke. I posted that in the previous post.
In my experience, more mature ladies, (see I’m choosing my words,) are usually more cheerful than younger women. Maybe it is the fact that they are more content with their lot. Also that maybe due to what they have experienced in the past. I know that is the case with myself, be grateful for what you have.
Some or all of these ladies were probably born before or during the war, where they knew real hardship. With rationing of foodstuffs throughout the war and on until 1954, they would have gone through such hard times.
When thinking about more senior people it may be good for youngsters to relate it to internet terms. We’ve all seen the new website starting up. Full of flashing banners and videos and silly photos, but not much content. Then have a look at the the site that has been running for a long time. No flashy gimmicks and it may look dull at first sight, and take longer to search, but when you get to know it a bit better, the wealth of information on that site is tremendous.
When I was younger I used to wonder why all the world leaders were so old. It is only with age that I have realised why that is. The wealth of knowledge and experience they hold is immense. Instead of going gung ho into things they are more pragmatic.
It is my view, and I expect most older people, that the younger generation are more selfish. Material things mean so much more to them, and they become “must haves”. We now live in a throw away society, where people throw away items and buy knew as opposed to repairing the old one, and the WANT outweighs the NEED. Everyone seems to want the latest version of things, such as fashion, mobile phones and the such like. Whereas, I bet, if you went to any of these ladies homes, you wouldn’t see all new fangled gadgets, but more practical, functional needs. This is what experience teaches you that you need.
These ladies seem to have a sense of purpose when they visit the town, and also take the time to socialise, even if it is just a cheerful “Good Morning”. I suppose some would say that they have nothing else to do, which is a common misconception. Quite often these ladies are members of groups, do charity work, or maybe still work, and are certainly more sociable.
It is great to photograph more mature ladies as the expressions you get are excellent. From the frown that maybe “I don’t like having my photo taken”, or “Why are you taking a photo of me”, to the embarrassed smile, that says “I’m not used to having my photo taken” or the big beaming smile that says “I don’t worry about having my photo taken any more”. So many people concentrate on younger women. Boy are they missing out on interaction with such lovely people.
It is sometimes sad when you see older ladies sitting on their own, although it may be they just like their own company. You wonder if they have family at home. Do they have partners or are they bereaved? Next time you see this, sit next to them and just say “Hello”, you may be surprised by the response. That is what happened when I said “Hello” to Margaret and had an enjoyable conversation and showed that you are never too old to do anything.
Society these days concentrates on the “Beautiful People”. What people forget is these ladies were young once, and I bet there were some beauties amongst them. As we grow older, that outer beauty, or what some hold to be beauty, fades, but the beauty within doesn’t. How many of these ladies are so beautiful to their Children and Grand Children, never mind their husbands. As you grow older you look deeper into things, and what you see or interpret as beautiful becomes wider, and you learn to see different types of beauty, which I can see in all these ladies.
The ladies above and the one below were together. As they walked across the street, one of them said “I hope you’re not filming that for TV.” I don’t think they realised we were just taking shots. They were laughing and joking amongst themselves and seemed to be really enjoying their time together.
This last lady reminded me a bit of Julie Walters, and the smile she carries so well.
I hope in this post that I have done a few things. Shown my respect for more mature ladies, and that they are only young girls who have been on this planet a bit longer, but that young girl is still within them, but with more knowledge.
On a photography note, get out there and get the shots of the senior ladies when you are out, and show their beauty and character.