AmericaShotPhoto essay : Beyond the 60th Sense by Pedro Oliveira

"Beyond the 60th Sense" is a photo essay done over the course of two years on which I photographed and interviewed females over 50s and listened to their opinions and experiences on relevant topics such as body empowerment
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In the wake of 2017 Women’s March and the fierce #metoo movement, on which brave women stood for themselves bringing down some of the most powerful men in the United States, I decided to start a project that would have as subject equally fierce women.

“Beyond the 60th Sense” is a photo essay done over the course of two years on which I photographed and interviewed females over 50s and listened to their opinions and experiences on relevant topics such as body empowerment, body shame, ageism, work/payment equality, mental health, sexuality, among others.

“Beyond” is about breaking the paradigms of arbitrary perfection when it comes to female beauty. It is a silently loud protest against the fallacy of feminine beauty being linked to youth, so widely advertised and spread nowadays. Finally, “Beyond the 60th Sense” is also about hearing the voices of an important part of our society on relevant and sensitive topics without judging their position but rather cherishing the paths that took them to such views.

I remember, I left home, it was rainy and freezing that day, a typical cold fall season in London. I was freezing but couldn´t take that misery any longer. I left with only mychild’s bike, some cloths, I stood up in. For over a year he (my son’s father) wouldn´t let me get back into the house to pick up my clothing and belonging, and I needed to get -Suzanne.

” I don’t know what the secret is…” — answering my question about her centennial age– I smoked up to my 80s and always ate pork, and everything I felt like. I guess it has more to do with genetics and happiness than anything else.”– Isabel, who had just turned 105 years old.

” For your own sake, I hope you will find a connection like you and Tom had. However, I believe that only happens once in a life time.” Tony who’s husband passed from Cancer and whose brother-in-law ( and my best friend), two years later met the same fate.

Tony has been one of my best friends and supporting person ever since the passing of my best friend Tom, last year.

Lisa has been ” all over the place,” as she likes to say. She has lived in Oregon, Montana, and even Colombia “just for the heck of it,” she tells me in between loud laughs.”I just wanted to experience something different and thought Colombia would be a great place.”

Lisa also drives often all the way from Montana to Corvallis, Oregon, to spend time with her elderly sister.

“Making the drive is not a sacrifice at all, as I am rewarded with spending time in a city I love and with someone I love.”

” I am no longer looking for love. Men don’t want me.” Cherry says, while I photograph her. I, surprised, ask her why men wouldn’t want to date her. At thispoint, I am genuinely curious.

” A few years ago, doctors were suspicious I had breast cancer. It turned out not to be cancer. But the many exams I had to go through left me scars. One of the men I dated told me straight to my face: ‘ You have such an ugly body” She tells me with a disappointed voice.

“Jeff ismy everything, I´ll love him till the end of my days when I can once again hold him in my arms and marvel at the wings that grace his feet.”

“My son was less about suicide and more about mental illness. We will never hide behind my son being sick and if we can help one kid or family battle this horrible Diseasethen my sons legacy is kept alive.” – Tammy Linn, who lost her son ,who died by suicide two weeks before our session due to his bipolar disorder. Tammy decided doing the session anyway.

Tammy and her husband Bill have ever since become activeadvocatesfor early identification and treatment mental of mental illness.

“I work hard, have always worked. I am smarter, quicker, and, obviously, more experienced than young kids are.Not because I am better than they are, but because I´ve lived what they have not. Being older only means, being wiser, and more experienced. Unfortunately, employersdon´t seeit that way,” Eve, when asked about Ageism.

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Issue #14 | September 2020
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