Sep 9, 2007


i drove to Ithaca last week to restart my series on women's sexuality and aging. I shot about 20 women last year and stopped because i ran out of money for one, but mostly because i wasn't satisfied with what i was getting. it seemed like i was copying katy grannan instead of following my own voice. that's a problem for me in my work; i get a certain satisfaction from copying what someone else has done, but that's hardly why i decided to become a photographer.

one of the women i met last year but decided not to shoot, regina, lives in la and had gained weight as she went through menopause. she was squeamish about showing her belly in the shots and wanted to cover up with beautiful sarongs and belts and such. i told her it's not a fashion shoot and decided to cut my losses. although the waste of time pissed me off, regina made me realize something important about this project, that what i want to show is how woman transcend the issues in their life, and how their doing so relates to their sexuality. For regina it's her body, for joey it's a sexless marriage, for rebecca it's the current circumstances of her life, for charlotte it's the lack of someone to love, for keren it's her work, for dorrit it's her self-image, for azure it's her disease. we all have issues in our life that challenge us, and as we grow older physical issues become more important. it's similar to matthew barney's ideas of resistance shaping form, but in this case it's how aging - or life - shapes sexuality. the intrigue in each picture comes from the issues each woman facing and how, or if, their sexuality shines through despite it.

i met and shot dianea in ithaca; she was celebrating her last day as a 60-year-old the day we met. she was very gracious to allow me to stay overnight with her and so i hoped to be able to get shots that were more intimate than my previous sessions, which typically run 3-4 hours. dianea seems to not have many hang-ups -- she's a healthy active and beautiful woman in great shape, a published author, a mother and a psychotherapist living a well-adjusted albeit somewhat lonely life. apart from a temporary lack of a partner i couldn't find any significant issue that she was facing, or at least none that she shared with me. the photos, as a result, seem to lack much depth. i need to continue shooting, trust the power that lies in just doing, but for now i'm just as stymied by this series as i was nine months ago.

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