Images on this website present a selection of those completed since I purchased my first camera during geriatric training in 1985. I began by photographing physical manifestations of old age for lectures and medical publications. One day I pulled my camera back to see my subjects in their environment and daily life, and a new world of visual imagery opened up. I soon realized that I was documenting a transformation in American society, where people over 85 are the most rapidly growing sector.
Today there are more seniors with active lives than ever before, as well as people living longer with chronic illness. It is no secret that our society’s infrastructure is not equipped to handle the complex medical and ethical issues associated with this new demographic (see the IOM report). Adding to the challenge of constructing an age-friendly society, America’s perception of aging is often mired in stereotype, negativism, and a large dose of denial. Thus the need for a new view of growing old – a view that presents optimism, vitality, and participation while acknowledging the realities of illness and frailty.
I have always drawn inspiration from medical doctors who have blended medicine with the arts to educate or enlighten people and construct a better world. In my AGING portfolios I have tried to present the viewpoint of a physician who has spent over two decades studying and caring for very old people. Those of us who labor in the field of geriatrics know that the needs are great and the time is short, particularly as many of us will be there soon.
Through my medical career I have made time to study at the International Center of Photography, The Art Students League, and The School of Visual Arts – all in New York City where I live. Images on this site were taken with a variety of film cameras, including Olympus OM2S, Nikon FE, Leicas M4 and M7, and digital technology that includes the Canon EOS 5D.