Even before her 60th birthday, Jenny O’Connor knew this new decade of her life was going to be a defining one.
“I had a strong sense that this birthday was a bigger milestone than any of the others. I had a sense of feeling more certain about myself and who I am and what was important to me now,” the New Zealand-based photographer told The Huffington Post.
With society’s pressure on women to look a certain way and appear more youthful, many of our bloggers at Huff/Post50 have written about feeling “invisible” after a certain age.
But O’Connor says she herself felt curious as to how others her age were feeling about the sixth decade of life and, thus, “The Visible Project” was born.
O’Connor began photographing women who were 60 in 2012, to allow them to show the camera ― and the world ― who they are and how they will defy “invisibility.” With props, costumes and makeup, O’Connor photographed 75 women for the series. The project has mushroomed to include a book, exhibitions and even a live show.
“I hope it challenges some of the stereotypes of women aging that exist,” O’Connor said. “I am always delighted when younger women contact me and tell me that the portraits have inspired them and helped lessen their fear of aging.”
As for O’Connor, the project left her with an even greater appreciation of older women, like herself.
“There is so much depth in each and every person,” she said. “I am constantly in awe of the strength and resilience of the human spirit... Women dig deep ― they love and they nurture. They are amazing.”
You can see a selection of the photos below or head over to Visible At 60 to learn more.