Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Artful reader book 5

Earth Elders ... The Wisdom of the World's Oldest People.

Interviews and Photographs of 50 Supercenternarians by Jerry Friedman.

Published 2005

ISBN 0-976910-0-2

In 2006 I was lucky enough to visit New York and whilst I was there I went to the United Nations building. There was an exhibition of photographs on display there, it was an amazing collection of photos that were taken by Jerry Friedman.

Jerry Friedman is an internationally known advertising and fine art photographer, he conceived the idea for this project back in 2000. It became the focus and passion of his life to photograph and interview the supercentenarians of the world. He travelled all over the world sometimes travelling to some of the remotest places on earth!

Every photo had such incredible detail of the faces of people he had interviewed about their lives. Seeing the exhibition made me want to find out more about the stories behind the faces.

I had this book on my wish list since seeing the exhibition and finally received it as a gift from my husband last Christmas so I was really looking forward to reading it.

The book is broken down into 3 parts.

Part One : Reflections. This part includes essays by various academics and goes into some detail about the role of the elderly in our societies past and present.

Part Two : The journey. This explains just how the lives and memories of the elders impacted on the author and how sometimes it was a race against time to visit the people he wanted to interview and photograph. In fact on some occasions he was too late! The chapters in part two reveal some of the finer details in some of the elders stories, some of which are quite moving to read.

Part Three : The Elders. Comprises of the photographs that I saw at the exhibition in New York alongside each individuals story. Some of the stories are longer than others but they are all interesting to read, by the very nature of the book every person was born in the late 19th century. They had lived through some of the most life changing experiences you could imagine and Jerry Friedman writes in such a way that you feel you are actually meeting the person and reliving some of those experiences with them.

I found the book to be as good as I had hoped for it to be and I really enjoyed revisiting the photos. It is does have the feel of some of the more academic books I have read in the past when I was studying the Social Sciences and Psychology, however, it does not go into such detail that you feel bogged down when reading it.

If you enjoy photography alongside social history then I would recommend this book as one to read.

As a result of this project Jerry Friedman founded the Earth's Elders Foundation a non-profit making organisation. All proceeds from the book sales go to this foundation. You can find more information at The Earth's Elders Foundation Earth's Eldersite.

For my artwork I have chosen one of my own photographs. If you have looked at some of the other posts on my blog you will have seen that one of my many hobbies is photography, therefore, I thought using a photograph for this book review would be really appropriate. The gentleman in the photo is obviously not a Supercentenarian but was certainly a great subject to photograph. He is wearing very appropriate head gear for watching a group of Morris Dancers welcoming in May.

Thanks for visiting.

 

12 comments:

Sarah said...

Love his hat :)

the first section of the book perhaps sounds a bit heavy reading, but I expect we would all find the photos and interviews fascinating

I love close up detailed photos of very elderly people, with all their wrinkles and all that character in their faces

Jez said...

It sounds a very interesting in-depth book on anusual topic and giving us a real insight into other lives, with the bonus of the photography.
Your own photo is so artistic and so well framed and captured. Did you just snap him or was he happy to give you a little more time. It is strange that we can get such a feeling of the person when his face is almost obscured by the hat, glasses and beard, and the flowers add that little frisson of surprise.

Jez said...

It sounds a very interesting in-depth book on anusual topic and giving us a real insight into other lives, with the bonus of the photography.
Your own photo is so artistic and so well framed and captured. Did you just snap him or was he happy to give you a little more time. It is strange that we can get such a feeling of the person when his face is almost obscured by the hat, glasses and beard, and the flowers add that little frisson of surprise.

abby j said...

Sounds like we're soul sisters, Shirley!! I'm a longtime scrapbooker and photographer as well. My career of 25 years was that of a documentary producer for television...so, lots of photography as well as videography involved. My husband (of 49 years) and I travel alot in our retirement, photographing and scrapbooking (and art journalling) along the way! This book sounds amazing as one of my favorite subjects to photograph is elderly people. I WILL put this on my "to be read" list...thanks for the great review, background and your wonderful photo!!

Jen said...

Wonderful photograph. I am so glad you got to finally read your long awaited book and that you enjoyed it so.
Jen x

Janet said...

Enjoyed your review and want to read this book! I think our elders have much to offer society if only people would listen. We do not value age in our society - much to our shame. A wonderful photograph - full of humour and good nature.

Janet xx

Julie Ann Lee said...

This is such an interesting topic for a book/study. I agree with Janet that we value the elderly far too little in our culture, ignoring the wisdom and experience they possess and all they might teach younger people. Your photo is beautiful, full of colour and character, showing that the elders of our society can be fascinating and compelling subjects for art, as well as contributors to it, of course. I'm thinking now of Picasso and Yoko Ono - amazing artists in age. xx Julie Ann

Darcy said...

Love your review of this, it's a book I would def not ever have come across if not for this review. The first part would maybe put me off, i get so annoyed at so-called 'academics/experts' having opinions on things. but hearing the stories from those that actually lived them really appeals to me. Gorgeous photo aswell.

Gina said...

Oh I love that dude and his hat!!!..and I think this book will definitely be going on my wishlist. Ancestry fascinates me. How many questions do we wish we had asked our grandparents about their grandparents...yet when they are around we are too obsessed with the future to even remember there is a past. :D XXX

San @ Made in Hem said...

Love, love, love your photo! ♥
If all the photos in the book come close to yours it must be a great coffee-table read! Yeah, for easiness I skip the first part of the book, no problem! ;)

Dawn said...

Oh I like the sound of Pt 2 & 3 Very much I may look up his photos on the net Sounds an interesting book and I am happy you enjoyed it.

Makes you wonder if we live to be 100 what stories we will have to tell? With technology progressing at this super fast rate. So may things have changed in the last 15/30 yrs and now we have world terrorists etc Knowledge is just a few seconds away if you have a question with the Internet. Life can be so fast paced if you let it, etc. etc.

Thank you for the review I may well look it up it's already given me things to think about. Dxx

Dawn said...

I got to carried away I forgot to mention your beautiful photo, the colour on his hat looks fab in this photo. Great capture! Dxx