“I was feeling unheard. I was feeling invisible. I was feeling insignificant,” says Susie Lang. “And I thought, if I’m feeling like this, other’s must be as well.” That was the beginning of a game-changing photographic exercise with global implications.
Susie Lang, an award-winning portrait photographer and psychotherapist from New York City found herself feeling less and less seen as she approached her 60s. “I turned 60 in 2017. My world, and the world of women’s issues in general, had been thrown into the spotlight in conjunction with the media attention around the US Presidential Election. I wanted to make a difference, but I felt my voice was becoming less and less heard. How could I make a difference, how could I contribute?”
This was the genesis of @women.60.plus. “I picked up my camera (it has always been a part of me) and I went looking for my subjects. I wanted to support and photograph older women. Women who are generally underserved, unrecognized and often invisible within the population.”
BEING SEEN AND HEARD IS ONE OF LIFE’S GREATEST AND RAREST GIFTS
“Being seen and heard is inspirational and often life changing. In psychotherapy, being deeply heard in a session can be transformational. In my photographic work, being seen (and heard) as we work together, is also transformational. Women over 60 are a collective of inspirational beings. I felt naturally pulled in this direction, after all, I’m over 60.”
IT'S THE CONNECTION THAT MAKES AN INCREDIBLE IMAGE
“As my subjects open-up, and their beauty from within shines through, they start to see themselves through my eyes. It’s a connection and relationship that heals. I knew what I wanted to do. I had no idea how the idea would take off.”
COVID WAS A TIME OUT OF SPACE
“COVID was horrible, especially in New York. But COVID also gave us the gift of time. It was the time I needed to take a DEEP DIVE into my personal awareness. My @women.60.plus work gained new insight from here on in. In 2017, my anxiety was that I was becoming INVISIBLE. Yet, as I’ve aged, I have become more VISIBLE to myself. COVID gave me the time to acknowledge this and to really notice myself.”
Once COVID restrictions were lifted, Susie picked up her camera and started walking around her Central Park neighbourhood. It’s where she had found her first subjects, women over the age of 60 who were also feeling uncertain in themselves and where they fit in.
I love taking photos. I love connecting with people - both are my passions.
I come alive during a session. It is truly my ART OF CONNECTION.
AUTHENTICITY IS PARAMOUNT IN FINDING CONNECTION
“I wanted to focus on women who I felt were under-represented, under-served, under-recognized. I felt upset that society (particularly Western Society) tends to focus on the beautiful, younger population. I wanted to fully represent the beauty of older women. I had never felt beautiful myself. As the only girl in a family of men in the rural countryside of South Australia, I had little opportunity to find my feminine side. But I did find a camera. My father had brought a camera home when I was 12. I was instantly attracted, and it became my constant companion. I found beauty by creating images that I could see. It led to my first jobs as I needed money to buy film and developing services.”
“As I grew up, my camera came with me. I left Australia to travel and study in the UK – my camera came with me. After I finished my undergrad in counseling theory, I did another degree in photography – my camera came with me. When I married and moved to the USA, I brought my camera with me. When I finished my masters in mental health counseling at NYU, I kept my camera close.”
MY IMAGES SHOW THAT PEOPLE OVER THE AGE OF 60 ARE THRIVING
“My images of older women are especially important to me because I - as an older woman - don’t want to be invisible to the outside world. And I fully recognize how there’s a power in having gathered 60+ years of experience on this planet, there’s a sense of mutuality when I photograph older people.
I PARTICULARLY LOVE WHEN MY 60+ CLIENTS SAY TO ME THINGS LIKE:
“Wow, I felt like super-model for a day.”
“We 60-somethings rock!”
“Thank you, this experience has touched parts of my soul that I had not yet discovered.”
THE PHOTO SESSIONS PROVIDE A PROFOUND EXPERIENCE FOR BOTH ME AND MY SUBJECTS!
It’s that deeper connection that shines through in Susie’s powerful images. Many women, especially in our youth obsessed culture, feel they are no longer attractive as they age. They feel the history they carry on their faces makes them less in society’s eyes. Through Susie’s lens, they come to life. Wrinkles tell a story of a life lived. Lighting and shadows cast a flattering image on canvas. With her @women.60.plus Susie shines a light on the beauty and individuality of aging, and offers images of true beauty.
AUTHENTICITY CREATES THE ART OF CONNECTION
“Through this journey, I’ve also transformed. From feeling small and insignificant, I’m becoming more VISIBLE to/for myself. I’m gaining a deeper sense of self-assurance and inner validation, I am aware that I radiate my authentic self-outwards, seemingly, and organically, drawing others towards me. It is, what I call the Art of Connection. As I radiate my sense of self, others in turn, radiate back to me!”
I’M NOT ALONE. THERE’S A HUGE NETWORK OF LIKE-MINDED WOMEN WORKING TO BE HEARD
“As @women.60.plus has grown in significance I’ve discovered a community of other women on similar paths. Women who resonate in this work. It is a powerful testament to the strength of shared experiences and common goals. That’s why I responded to NEXT CHPTR CHATS and this invitation.”
“What I do is both personal and universal. I started this because I felt a need to find my voice, my sense of significance and a purpose as I go forward. By participating in a larger community, I feel I’m contributing to a broader conversation about self-acceptance, visibility, and empowerment. Working one on one, my work often feels small and intimate and yet somehow, profoundly rich, and expansive. It’s these remarkable women who have helped me find my way.”
IN WORKING WITH OLDER WOMEN, THERE IS AN ORGANIC MUTUAL RESPECT, A FLOW OF ENERGY, A SENSITIVITY, A SENSE OF KNOWING THAT WE HAVE LIVED A LIFE, FULL OF EXPERIENCE, GAINING WISDOM AND INSIGHT.
“Women, the world over, tend to find support from each other. It’s a sisterhood. Behind each face is a woman who has lived her life, who has dreamed and still has desires. She is searching for meaning, she is looking for purpose, she still has a life to live. I am passionate about capturing the pureness of her.”
Image by @robbiequinnnyc
COMMUNITY AND CONNECTION ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO ME
“It’s that deep connection that I thrive on. Getting older has enabled me to become more visible to myself. The more I can be honest and open with myself, the more I can be with another.”
As you may surmise, Susie’s work is revered around the world. She’s been featured on many platforms with shows and exhibits across the US to Britain to Australia and beyond. Her work is featured in print, on major networks and across social media on @AgeismIsNeverInStyle BY THE BIAS CUT, @the.pro.age.woman, @ParisFanClub, @ArtfulCityStyle.
Find out more about Susie and her work at:
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