Gerry, 75, and Darwin, 70, have been together for over 20 years. Like fine wine, they become more beautiful with age, wrinkles and all. And they proved this by posing in the nude.When you think of models, there's no doubt that most of us default to picturing images of youthful men and women frolicking around on a hot summer day. Or maybe that's just me. But people well into their golden years, baring all for the camera, is the last thing that comes to mind. Enter one brave photographer to challenge the conventions of beautiful models. Tucson photographer, Jade Beall, enlisted for 'beloveds over 60' for her new series of portraits, "expanding the definition of ‘beautiful’ for elder bodies." She reached out to various models and interracial couple, Gerry and Darwin were the first to respond. All Beall asked of the couple was a gentle embrace. But then things started progressing in a different direction. Their love for each other was so evident during the shoot that Beall was moved to tears.
The couple started locking lips. Passionately.
They started kissing at one point'Beauty' is often portrayed through photos of conventionally beautiful models with smooth skin, but Beall believes that the sagging skin and wrinkles that an elderly body endures over time is beautiful. She supported her definition of beauty on Facebook:
I was just like, ‘Damn!’ So juicy and so real. I had to stop at one point. I had to stop at one point because mascara was running in my eyes,
I refuse to accept the widespread (mostly Western) human belief system in regards to what is beautiful, especially when it comes to the sacred vessel we call our body. Skin that drapes, stretches, sags, wrinkles, burns, and rebuilds like spiraling Fibonacci across our fragile and strong bones, made from the same stuff as the stars.
Over 4 million people have seen the photo of Gerry and Darwin on Beall's Facebook page, and it garnered 34,000 likes. The post includes Gerry's testimonial revealing her enthusiasm for the session and for her body:
I love my body. I use a cane, I am having vision problems and my breasts reach to my waist, but you know what? I like me!"
We think Gerry's onto something. And her statement makes perfect sense. She wrote an email to Beall expressing how pleased she and Darwin were with the photos, and that they are even happier that the public's response has been so supportive.
I am thrilled that so many people responded to these photos with HOPE for their own lives. It’s WHY we agreed to un-cover for the camera. We wanted to show that wrinkles and aging, sagging body parts are NOT barriers to love unless you let them be. Like fine wine or good cheese, we are more fully ourselves and more full of Love in our 70s than we ever were in our 30s and 40s — which were more painful, growing years.This isn't the first time Beall's work has gone viral. Always known for capturing the truth in her un-Photoshopped photography with bodies of all ages, shapes and races, she thrives on the public's interest in her work. But sometimes her work pushes boundaries to a fault.
Last year, Facebook removed one of her photos from a series that showed women breast-feeding their children. In her eyes, she saw beauty in the vitality of life in the moment the photos were taken, but not all shared the same perspective.
Yet, she remains steadfast on her mission to capture authenticity in what she sees as beautiful. In 2012, she co-founded a non-profit organization called A Beautiful Body Project in which 24 female photographers, videographers, and journalists from seven countries share women's stories through their voices and bodies. The website describes the organization:
...a multi-media platform where women can heal, find others who have journeyed through similar challenges, realize they aren’t alone, and show future generations of boys and girls a source of media that isn’t controlled by corporate interests, using digital body alterations to change how women look, and actually build healthy self-esteem in future generations of women.Beall's work embodies so much passion that is similar to the love that Gerry and Darwin share. We can't help but be affected after looking through these images. Beauty can manifest in places where you least expect it. Through her lens, it's clear that when we open our heart and mind, we can recognize the beauty in ourselves no matter how old we are. Hey, I earned every wrinkle and am proud of it.
H/T - toppostsever, self, azcentral, abeautifulbodyproject