Portraits of Longevity: Celebrating Inspirational Elders

I’m very excited to introduce you to a new line of photography that I’m going to offer – Portraits of Longevity: Celebrating Inspiring Elders. When you think of organizing a photo shoot and hiring models, which models do you think of? I bet whoever you imagined was probably a young man. At a recent editorial shoot, I was inspired to question these norms and have Asian grandmothers as my models!

It is rare for older people to feature in the media, but we see even less photos of Asian older people as they are often camera shy. And in my experience, even when I managed to get them to take pictures, they were often quite stoic. I took pictures of this cute grandma for years and got some pretty and real pictures of her so this time I wanted to push the boundaries a bit and capture more of her personality. Just looking at these pictures brings the biggest smile to my face, and I know your family will appreciate these longevity portraits.

With this cute couple, I wanted to encourage them to step out of their comfort zone and show some affection for each other. They hesitated at first, but I’m so honored that they soon trusted me to document some intimate moments!

Because of my personal experiences and passions, I thought about offering Portraits of Longevity for a long time. The final push to implement this idea, however, came from circumstances outside of myself – the recent escalation of anti-Asian violence, particularly against our elders. I was appalled and saddened to see our elders being targeted for wrongly assigning blame, their appearance, and perception that they were weak. I think anyone who knows an Asian elder can confirm that he is anything but weak.

In those few photo shoots for longevity alone, I have heard stories of immense courage and determination in search of better lives for their families. These incredible grannies may seem cute and reserved now, but they have lived through horrors I’ve only read about in history books – they fled Vietnam by boat to seek refuge from the war and watched their home from Intruders was burned down. Their stories deserve to be told, and I am honored to help raise awareness of the value and importance of our elders.

We often hire photographers to document crucial life moments, especially those that signal a fresh start – engagements, weddings, newborns, etc. However, I have found that some of my most precious photos are those that show the people I love, even in an everyday moment, because these moments are fleeting. I would give anything to take another picture of my grandma. I don’t want my kids to have the same feelings about their grandparents, so I made a decision to photograph them twice a year (whether they wanted to or not!). If you’re looking for a way to preserve your grandparents ‘or parents’ legacy, don’t miss the opportunity – contact me today to capture their portraits of longevity!

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