Aging Is Living: MNjcc Photography Display
Photography by Irene Borins Ash: June 12 - July 22, 2012
By Irene Borins Ash
"I capture images with my camera. My images are compelling, humorous, poignant, compassionate and make political and social statements."
As a social worker I began to question why some seniors become depressed while others, despite problems they faced in life, were joyously and passionately involved in living. My research led to my first book, Treasured Legacies - Older & Still Great (Second Story Press: 2003), which presented photographs and interviews with 44 seniors as well as a list of the common traits shared by the inspiring seniors I was privileged to meet and profile.
Everyone in the first book was living in their own home except for Ann Seaton who was living at Baycrest Apotex Centre, Jewish Home for the Aged.
Saying that her years at Baycrest were amongst some of her best, Ann inspired me to travel around Ontario for 3 years interviewing seniors and, in some cases, younger people who were living in various long term care homes.
The resulting exhibit was on display at Ryerson University as part of the ScotiabankCONTACT Photography Festival. This work became my second book, Aging Is Living: Myth-Breaking Stories From Long-Term Care (Dundurn Press: 2009).
I wrote the book to help take away some of the fear that people have about spending the later part of their life in a home. Staying at home when care needs are round-the-clock and a person is housebound creates social isolation, which is bad for your physical and mental health.
Aging is Living illustrates how people in nursing homes can thrive, because their care needs are provided together with a variety of social programs. The family of the resident can also be released from “survival mode” to mend relationships and enjoy each other’s company.
I have focused on the life that is still very much present and that is yet to be lived. My work defies our stereotypes. It makes seniors and in some cases younger people with challenges visible. It gives them a presence. It asks us to listen and hear the value in their voices.
Irene Borins Ash's photography exhibit, Aging Is Living, is on display at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre (MNjcc) June 12 - July 22, 2012.
Admission is free and everyone is welcome.
The Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre receives financial support from UJA Federation.