Earth Elders ... The Wisdom of the World's Oldest People.
Interviews and Photographs of 50 Supercenternarians by Jerry Friedman.
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.