As a gift to herself for her 52nd birthday, local Photographer Rebecca Peterman has put a call out for 50 women over 50 to share their life experiences in transformation for her newest photography project.
"I think that being a 50-year-old woman is a very different thing than being a 50-year-old man," Peterman said. "A lot of women, as they age, feel like they become invisible, and no one hears their voices anymore. I've heard, like my mother and other older women talk about how they just feel like they don't feel like anyone pays any attention at all to them anymore.
"I feel like I have a platform where I can change that."
Free to participants, Peterman is looking for women willing to share a written version of their stories, followed by a self-portrait taken at her studio located in Spencer's Corner at 801 Central Ave.
"I had a friend write me and say she'd love to be part of the project, but she doesn't know if anything big enough has happened to her," Peterman said. "And, I think for a lot of us we've had a big life change, whether it's a big promotion at work, or becoming an empty-nester ... but also just the slow and steady progression of time and how things change in your life.
"I think your perspective's really different as an older person, so it doesn't have to be, you know, 'I have this huge COVID story to tell,' or, 'I have this huge story about whatever else.' It can just be about how you're different, and how your perspective and viewpoint's different."
For the portrait, Peterman said she wants to capture who they are as a person.
"I don't want like a glamour shot that doesn't look like them, but I want to show them how beautiful they are to people around them. And that's kind of what I do in my photography in general.
"A lot of us, our spouse or our kids, or our friends — other people in our lives — realize how beautiful we are, but we don't always realize it ourselves. So the process that I take you through is kind of to help you see that in yourself."
Peterman kicked off the project Feb. 27, by sharing a little bit of her story and how it led her to the project, along with a self-portrait, on her Facebook Page, Rebecca Peterman Photography.
Today is my 52nd birthday and my gift to myself is a personal art project.
The pandemic has been a time of change for me, like it has for many people. Most of the changes aren’t ones I would have chosen, but we don’t usually get to choose these things.
My husband died three days before my 50th birthday. My friends and family carried me through those first few days and weeks. They tried to distract me with a birthday celebration, but I don’t remember much of it. He died on a Monday. The funeral was Saturday. The next week the entire world came to a stop for covid. Most people thought it was strange, but the world stopping felt natural to me.
For 27 years I’d planned my days and my life around my family. My oldest got married and moved out 5 months after my husband died. My youngest went to college in another state. It felt like my whole world changed overnight. At 50, I started all over again, trying to figure out what my life looks like and what I want to do with the rest of it.
It isn’t what I expected and I don’t have it all figured out yet, but I’m living life by choice - choosing everyday to get up, face the world, and do something good with the day.
So far, my 50s have been a time of transition in so many ways. One of them is the increased focus on my work. I’ve moved my home studio into a retail space. I’m working to advance my professional accreditations, and I’ve increased my workload. Now I’d like to begin a personal project that allows me to focus my creative energy on the transition and transformation that women face as they age. It may be a work achievement, a relocation, a retirement, becoming a grandparent, a loss, a gain, or a new start.
We all go through transitions in life, both good and bad. They transform us inside and out. They show us what we are made of and teach us to accept ourselves in ways we never can in our youth. With age, we gain confidence and wisdom that younger women need to see and hear. We all have a story to tell. What’s yours?
I want to photograph 50 women over 50 in the next 50 weeks and share their stories. If you are a woman 50 or over please consider participating in this #50over50 project. If you know a women who would be perfect for this, please recommend her or forward this to her. For more information, click here: smile.RebeccaPetermanPhotography.com/50
As the project progresses, it will be posted to Peterman's Facebook page, and be shown in monthly Gallery Walks.