Fine Art Photography Daily

Jane Paradise

There is something about people’s faces at the beginning and end of their life cycle that have always moved me the most. Sometimes I think that we are drawn to making images of children so we can revisit our youth, and drawn to faces that have seen a full life because we want to explore our own mortality. Photographer Jane Paradise has found a wonderful face and person to explore with her project, When I Was Young I Was Beautiful.  The work is currently on display at the Atelier Gallery at the Stoneham Theatre through the Griffin Museum in Stoneham, Mass and will be on exhibition through January 13th, 2013.

Jane is a San Francisco and Cape Cod based photographic artist and is a trustee of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) and former Deputy Director of the International Museum of Women. Her photographs are held in public and private collections in the United States and Europe. Jane has exhibited widely and her recent work includes a series on women in their 90’s aging in America that reflects both beauty and sadness irrespective of physical circumstances.

When I Was Young I Was Beautiful 

Norma Holt is a ninety+ year-old prominent New York and Provincetown (MA) photographer who continues to actively pursue her art and enjoy all of what life brings her. Through Norma I am telling the universal story about aging and how one person creates a meaningful life with deteriorating physical state.  

“I used to want a whole loaf of bread, then a half, now I’ll settle for a slice.”

When Norma was young she was beautiful – and she still is. Norma is an inspiration. Someone who is still thinking and creating and transforming her work and devising new projects and loving life irrespective of the physical challenges that aging brings. 
“For me, the beauty of life subsists in the simple dignity of being human and living fully and fairly in order to affirm our humanity.”
“I feel like I am in prison when there is ice on the sidewalk”


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” quotes, hopes, desires and longings. Her words are interspersed amongst imagery depicting Norma herself: a consummate artist and fierce soul.

“I just go outside to get out of here.”


(In Norma’s world there is never a dull moment and retirement is 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 this day.

“I used to take it a day at a time now I say one foot in front of another to get through the day.”

“I will keep trying until my dying day.”
“I was less scared when I was young.”
“It’s unthinkable to go to bed without reading.”

“Photography for me has always been a tool with which to mirror back to society an altruistic representation of the human experience.”

“Sometimes I don’t know if I panic or just can’t breathe.”

The idea is to stay out of the rocking chair and keep moving.”
There is not much of the artistic impulse left in me but there is enough.”

“There is so much to do that is interesting in life.”

“When I was young, I was considered beautiful.”

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