Funny how it all falls away

Author: Mano Svanidze
Edition: Journey of aging

Over the past year, the extreme environment created by the pandemic has pushed many people to reconsider how our society functions and the extent to which “business as usual” is a fair or just way to treat each other, especially vulnerable groups like the elderly.

The social isolation and loneliness the elderly experienced during the lockdowns put the price of age in stark relief and, for some young people, sparked new fears about what it means to grow old in our society.

Through this photo essay, I want to address the fears young people have about growing old, and their thoughts about how our society treats the elderly. Most young people struggle to imagine what their lives will be like when they are old. To visualize the future, I took their portraits and “aged” them using Faceapp, which uses artificial intelligence to change a person's face.

I wanted people to look at these photos as if they were from an old family album. I subjected all photos to the old fashioned procedure of collodion wet plate printing, thus creating a link between past, present and future. I also asked my subjects how they imagine themselves in old age--what sort of future do they believe they will have, and what do they fear old age could bring.

When viewed together, the images of their “future selves” and their words combine to create a window into a possible future and a mirror that reflects the way our society views and treats the elderly today.

Anai, 26

David, 26

Maja, 34

Rati, 25

Inga, 35

Levan, 26

Tamara, 27

Thoma, 29

Khatia, 28

Bela, 32

Mano, 29

Fred, 36

Theo, 29

Giorgi, 31

Mariam, 28

This photo story was prepared with support from the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) South Caucasus Regional Office. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of FES or Chai Khana.
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