When I Was Young I Was Beautiful
Norma Holt was a ninety-three year-old prominent New York and Provincetown (MA) photographer who continued to actively pursue her art and enjoy all of what life brought her until she passed in June of 2013. Through Norma I am telling the universal story about aging and how one person creates a meaningful life with deteriorating physical state.
When Norma was young she was beautiful – and she still is. Norma is an inspiration. She was someone who thought and created and transformed her work and devised new projects. She loved life irrespective of the physical challenges that aging brought her.
This body of work is an intimate portrait of an independent creative spirit who also photographed artists. This portrait of Norma's later life (from 89 years old on) is told both through words and photographs. The words are serendipitous "Norma Wisdom", hopes, desires and longings. Her words are interspersed amongst imagery depicting Norma herself: a consummate artist and fierce soul.
(In Norma's world there was never a dull moment and retirement was NOT an option.)
I first met Norma in the summer of 2007 when she and I were both, by chance, visiting the Schoolhouse Gallery in Provincetown. We struck up a conversation that began a friendship, a photography project, and a journey for us both that continues to the end of her life.
Norma passed away on July 12, 2013 at 94 years old.
Of Strength and Grace: Elegy for Love is a book of poetry by Tom Whayne paired with photographs by Jane Paradise.
Tom Whayne and Katherine Wilson met late in life while training to become docents at the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art. For twenty-three years, they enjoyed a relationship sustained by immeasurable love and constant companionship, knowing all the while they were "playing the long last game."
In 2010, Kat suffered a subdural hematoma. Until her death three years later, Whayne wrote poetry, his beautifully crafted words describing moments of love and beauty as well as pain and anguish. Of Strength and Grace: Elegy for Love is the collection of these poems, accompanied by magnificent photographs by Jane Paradise that are candid, sincere, and profound.
This beautiful book is a source of strength and grace to anyone who has loved in the face of anguish. Isn't that everyone?
The book is out of print but it is still available on Amazon.