Three little ladies drinking pink lemonade by the pool and shielding themselves from the sun with umbrellas — and one with a wide-brimmed hat — became an inspiration to art photographer, Liz Waring.
Three little ladies drinking pink lemonade by the pool and shielding themselves from the sun with umbrellas — and one with a wide-brimmed hat — became an inspiration to art photographer, Liz Waring.Her photo book, "Up With Aging: The Art of Growing Older with Zest," captures the growing population of seniors enjoying life with wonder and whimsy and a good pair of sunglasses. Waring said it is her hope that her book will inspire both young and old to retain youth by staying creative and optimistic.
"It shows a positive and zestful way of life," Waring said.
Waring took each of the 22 photos in the book. She started with black-and-white photographs of seniors posing in various situations and then painted in some pastels and whimsy, like characters, balloons, stars, and flowers.
One photo is of a couple riding on a motorcycle. The man is wearing a red hat and the woman has a pink boa wrapped around her neck blowing in the wind.
The man had trouble walking, but once he was riding, he was "like a teenager again," Waring said. "They just lit up. They’re so sparkly."
The couple, like all of Waring’s subjects in the book, are wearing sunglasses. She said it was important that they go incognito since the book focuses on ideas not the individuals. It also makes the whole thing a little "zany," she said.
The cover photo of the three inspirational women was taken at Bay View, a senior housing complex in Fall River, in 1991. Waring, who has been a professional photographer for 25 years, said she was working on a project for Adams House, another elder residence in Fall River, that never came to fruition.
But she kept the photo. And she looked at it often. "It sat in my dark room for a long time," Waring said. There was something lighthearted and happy about the three ladies smiling behind their sunglasses and enjoying a day at the pool.
Later in the ‘90s, Waring said she used pastels to give the photo a whimsical touch-up. And, she blew it up and showed it at art fairs. It turned out that the photo got lots of attention.
"People responded to it," Waring said. She heard some folks say "this is the way we’re going to be" when they looked at it.
After giving it some thought, Waring saw a theme emerging: more photos of seniors being just as engaging and colorful. She said the ideas and images came "fast and furious."
From there, Waring spent time selecting her subjects and photographing their poses. "The project really became a passion," she said.
While photographing, Waring also started researching the aging process and learning how some folks seem to stay young beyond their wrinkles.
That information became a series of snippets and quotations for aging positively in "Up with Aging," which makes for a nice prelude to the photographs.
"They’re such wonderful role models for aging," Waring said. "I enjoyed so much meeting the people in the pictures. They’re so spirited. People have responded so beautifully."
Waring, who obviously loves beauty herself, has a studio in the bottom of her Westport home overlooking gardens and the Cock East Pond. Her fulltime job is photographing children and families. She is a mother of two and grandmother of three. Her husband, Jim Waring, is the owner of the Waring funeral homes.
She said her art and the family business goes hand in hand. It’s all about the importance of family, making memories and living life to the fullest.
"What is life all about, but a series of happy memories," Waring said.
A portion of proceeds from the book will be donated to Bay View and Adams House, where Waring carried trays for her first job at the age of 14. Waring’s mother, age 92, is a Bay View resident. "She’s a young 92. She walks two miles every day," Waring said.
"Up with Aging" is on sale for $24.99 in hard cover and $18.99 in soft cover at Barnes and Noble, Borders, Baker Books, and Partners in Westport. It is also available online at Amazon and Xlibris.