Capturing the Beauty of Wrinkles & Imperfections

IStock photos are amazing!  We have been using them for flyers, brochures, and advertising.  We found over the years however, we could not find photos of seniors who were old enough to represent our population.

It seemed as if the oldest person in the photo was 15-20 years too young -more representative of the children.  My goodness – we call ourselves advocates for the elderly and then our pictorial representations were inaccurate.

We hired our own photographer.  We were lucky to find a photographer who had a family member in long term care.  Her grandmother had lived in one of our independent living and then assisted living, and passed away in one of our nursing homes.  She also has a personal mission to take pictures of those she feels are “under represented” in photographs.  Presto magic!

Our photographer has been capturing the essence of day-to-day events and the “life of the facility”.  She has a big task, as we have 12 facilities.  I enjoy listening to her stories of participating with residents at the Rockies Game, in an art project, or having deep discussions of current events.  All are captured on her digital camera for our use.  Of course – with permission from residents.

Our first “coming out photo” has been used in digital and print ads, on a billboard, and even on our water bottles.  Our featured resident is thrilled, as is her family!  The other residents in her facility and the staff all think they are special.  What a wonderful effect of our program we had not really anticipated.

We sent an ad with her photo for a publication.  The publication’s design team asked if they could use the photo from last year – an IStock photo of a family.  When I asked them why, they stated our photo for this year “was of her whole face and it showed every wrinkle and imperfection”.  My response – “Yep.  That’s the point”.

It takes many years to develop the wrinkles and imperfections of wisdom and experience.  We love our new photos and celebrate with our residents their long lives and beautiful faces!

Editor’s Note:  This article was submitted by Yvonne Myers, Health Systems Director, with Columbine Health System.  She can be reached at 970-482-0198 or Yvonne.myers@columbinehealth.com