Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Aging in Paris


I came across this charming little lady in a garden in the 18th arrondissement. She was coming in my direction and I knew right away I wanted to take a photo of her. So, I waited for her to walk away a little bit and took this shot. I just learned a few days ago, that the oldest French person lived until the age of 109 (and 146 days!), not far from Paris. He was born in 1901 and I often wonder what people who were born that long ago think of today's world ;-)

39 comments:

  1. She's wonderful! I've thought for a long time that Paris would be a good place to grow old. I've met so many older French women with real style—and the elderly seem to be invisible in my country. So expect to see a silver-haired moi walking around Paris some time in the next decade or so!

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  2. Charming shot, Eric. A photography teacher in LA I met a couple years ago advocates that we get brave, introduce ourselves to passersby that intrigue us, and ask to take their photo. I have tried it a few times, but still prefer candids like this.
    -Kim

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  3. I have only just found your blog, Eric. We are in Paris this July and I am enjoying your shots.

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  4. I expect to see a silver-haired moi walking around Paris during April!!

    This is a wonderfully evocative image, Eric. I like so much that you knew she was an 'image' the instant you saw her. That happens to me also ... great fun.

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  5. What a wonderful photograph. I want to be just like her. Love your blog.
    Meg

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  6. Amazing! Wow! What better place on earth to grow old?! :-)

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  7. Eric, this photo just touches my heart. I have just returned from seeing my aging mum and this photo tells a story. I love photos of people going down paths like this, but the age of the lady makes it ever so poignant. It is a beautiful image.

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  8. PS - the colors and composition are also wonderful!

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  9. This is one of the most beautiful pictures I have seen.

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  10. This is just why I bought a place in Neuilly. If I have to get old, I want to get old in Paris! They seem to have so much respect for age and all the oldies walk every day and keep active. In the US, they toss us by the side of the road! We just take up space!

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  11. What a lovely photo. I can only imagine what she thinks of the world today.

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  12. Eric, you quickly becoming the Henri Cartier-Bresson of the 21st Century! You are capturing the "decisive moment" more and more in your work.

    Thanks for the incredible work and effort on your blog. I wish I had your perseverance.

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  13. What a marvelously tender shot, Eric! I have met many facinating elderly people in Paris. It is wonderful to see someone come alive when you take the time to show an interest in them. The animation in their face as they share some of their knowledge about the City and it's history....or simply when you ask the name of their beloved dog....priceless!

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  14. :) sweet catch

    so do I (wonder what elderly people think of today's world) - but so far I know more young(er) people who behave and act in ways of not comprehending our times...

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  15. This is such a beautiful image - I love everything about it. Beautiful lady, the angle of her body, and a perfect background. Decisive moment indeed. And I agree with Alexa and Cathy - Paris, with its respect for age, would be my ideal place to grow old.

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  16. Lovely photo Eric. Did you talk to her?

    @Alexa, I'm not so sure that growing old in Paris such a nice thing. Things are not adapted and the elderly tend to get hidden away, unless they have the means to do otherwise. In the countryside, it might be different though. I think until we learn to respect the elderly like in the Asian countries, this might not change too quickly.

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  17. Beautiful winter postcard. Lovely steps of old people in an unforgettable scene.

    Regards

    Valery

    [Barcelona Daily Photo]

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  18. This really is a nice photo.

    There is a home for the elderly that now has hundreds of people in a newer building. It started out at a small apartment building. It has always had this on the wall: "Let us all remember the aged. Yes, even you are getting old." That sign has been there since I was a child, and I've passed it hundreds of times.

    So, to help with the passing of time, I visited Los Angeles. I sent M. PDP a photo of our gathering. It was fun. When I arrived home, I had to clear snow from my walks and driveway. That after 80 F weather in LA!

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  19. My dear Granna is still with us, as are both of my husband's grandmothers. It is lovely to visit them, which unfortunately doesn't happen as often as we'd like, but on our last visit, Grandma Struck told me not to get old. It is annoying and painful and she would much rather not to have to do it, she said. At 93, she is quite a character and makes our visits fun, but she is right in a way--growing old is painful and not very fun at times. This charming lady looks like she is still enjoying her life--I really hope that is me someday!

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  20. I agree with Alexa, that Paris is agreat place to grow old. You can walk anywhere, take a bus, a Metro or a cab. In the US, our old people rarely get out to walk. I used to see an old woman, most likely in her late 80's, push her walker everyday past my apartment window, waling to the bakery for bread. It took her an hour - it took me 4 minutes! I love the French spunk! Or is it just Parisians who have this?

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  21. Michael -- You may be right, but at least in Paris I won't have to hear the term "senior," which seems so patronizing. I agree with my father who said he'd rather be called an old fart than a senior citizen! :~}

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  22. What everyone else said. I am so enjoying your blog, having only recently discovered it.

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  23. I immediately loved the post, Eric, the very first minute I saw it. And time has flied until now. Aging in Paris is a wish. Aging and feeling at home with the place and people I cherish is a big thing.

    Flore

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  24. Newsflash Alexa, here when we talk about people over 50 in the workplace, they call them "seniors". Sorry to disappoint... :-(

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  25. I'm so glad you all loved this photo, cause I do too - a lot!

    @Alexa. in a decade? Are you kidding, you mean in 5 decades!

    @Kim. in fact I am EXTREMELY shy when it comes to photographing people, so it's very rare that I ask anything.

    @Darcy. Merci ;-)

    @Anne. Meric + ;-)

    @Julie. April in Paris...

    @Meg. Merci again.

    @Gary. Er... Tahiti, Mauricius, Detroit(!)...

    @Carrie. Awww that's sweet.

    @Photoriga. Thank you very much, but you probably haven't been to many photo exhibits ;-))

    @Cathy. "They seem to have so much respect for age and all the oldies walk every day and keep active." Er... I'm not so sure about that!

    @Randy. You can?

    @Ken. OMG! 1st PhotoRiga who say this is one of the most beautiful photos they have seen and then you who call me Cartier Bresson. I won't be able to sleep tonight LOL! About my perseverance : well I wish I was that perseverant with EVERYTHING in my life!

    @Magdalena. Merci.

    @Beau gosse (are you really?!) Actually very often old people are lonely so they enjoy a little chat with whoever wants to talk to them.

    @Kiki "but so far I know more young(er) people who behave and act in ways of not comprehending our times..." LOL. yeah, probably.

    @Winsome. "Paris, with its respect for age, would be my ideal place to grow old." funny because that is not the impression I have. But I may be wrong.

    @Michael. "No I did not - talk to her. I just waited for her to pass me. "Things are not adapted and the elderly tend to get hidden away, unless they have the means to do otherwise" Aren't you confusing old and handicapped?!

    @Irredento. Merci Valery. I mean gracias!

    @Jeff. ""Let us all remember the aged. Yes, even you are getting old." No, not me. Actually I quit aging a few years ago, doctors say it's really bad for your health... ;-) About the photo I haven't seen it yet. but you know me and my tons of pending emails...

    @Christie. I fully agree with your Grandma! (ANd you're lucky to have so many elederly relatives arround you.

    @JKGovert "ou can walk anywhere, take a bus, a Metro or a cab.". Well that is more living in a city vs at the country, isn't?

    @Teresa ;-)

    @Alexa. Don't go thinking that. We do use the word Senior (in English actually) and it starts at 45, especilly at work...

    @Just Plain Jane. Merci, some people have been hanging here for almost 6 years now!

    @Flore. Merci, merci, merci ;-) But you're not already thinking of againg are you???

    @Michael. So true!

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  26. Age is in the eyes of the beholder. I just saw this on the news. "Mairiam O'Reilly said she was sacked when she was 53 y/o along with three other women over 50 y/o." I am happy for her that she won her case. It must have been difficult. She was up against the BBC. Here is a short clip on YouTube http://www.google.com/search?q=marium+oreilly+bbc&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7GWYE_en#hl=en&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7GWYE_en&q=miriam+o'reilly+bbc&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbo=u&tbs=nws:1&source=og&sa=N&tab=wn&fp=a161a0560a45fd8a

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  27. J'adore!! I have met some of the loveliest elderly people in Paris. One morning in the Jardin du Luxembourg I spoke with a woman for almost an hour about Lilacs and her concept of "Lilacs and Peace!" I still think of her and wonder if she is still living. Once in our neighborhood cafe an elderly man examined an unusual map my friend had and then I started to notice that he would be in the cafe everyday at the same time. He was always in a topcoat and hat and wearing a suit, such a gentleman. My French great grandmother [from Quimper] lived to be 100 and my father is still with us at 89 so I hope I will also be around and healthy for some time!! Merci Eric!! ;-)

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  28. Eric -- LOL
    Maybe there's just no escaping the term "senior"! :~{

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  29. Sadly, as I'm learning with my parents, elderly and disabled often go together as the body breaks down (echh, my knees; echh, my hips)! So, its too bad Paris hasn't been able to meet its citizen's needs. I'd have liked to join Alexa there! Maybe I can just visit, eh, Alexa? ;-)

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  30. Hi Eric:
    Actually, the oldest person ever recorded was Jeanne Calment from Arles, France. She lived 122 years, 164 days (1875-1995).
    Thank you for the great photos!

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  31. Oh wow, THAT is a REALLY nice shot ! Love it!!!!

    Too many comments to read but have to disagree with those of you who believe that growing old in Paris would be a good experience. Many older people leave Paris, in fact, when they reach retirement age.

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  32. People never get old in Paris. :)
    They remain young at soul.

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  33. @Eric : yes, I'm already thinking of that, not that I feel old at all but I know how the field of possibilities in life does not grow endlessly. It implies good choices before aging like the woman in your lovely photo.

    On another point, did you finally get a new camera for Christmas? The quality of this photo makes me wonder but I'm not qualified enough to answer by myself! Maybe you'd accept to share this ?

    Flore

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  35. Jeanne Calmant was much older than 109 I think , you're french why a blog in English ?

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  36. Lovely, lovely photo. It makes me smile.

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