Our recent Fantasy Facelift post got quite a response, including a number of emails from readers. One particularly wise and moving one came from our friend Ellen Silverman, who has been working on various photography and video projects in Cuba. Here’s what she wrote:

You are prescient . . . last night I was both horrified and delighted when this photo arrived in my in box from a dear friend in Cuba. At first all I saw was a mass of wrinkles around my eyes and was horrified at the state of my face and wondered what to do. Actually I walked into the bathroom and did just what you and Suzanne did to see what I would look like with a face lift.

Then I looked again at the 104 year-old-man that I was standing next too and marveled at the twinkle in his eye and remembered his good humor and spring in his step as he walked away from us.

Ah aging… it is better to look forward and out than to stare in the mirror wondering what to do with the damn wrinkles, and to remember to listen to others who tell us we are beautiful. We are the only ones looking at those wrinkles in time. 

…Antonio is 104 years old and if he can keep going so can I. It is so interesting how we perceive ourselves, and then how shocking it is to see ourselves in a photo. 

When we asked if it would be okay if we posted her words, she responded:

…oh what the hell post away. It’s like jumping into a cold lake.

Aging is the bracing, thrilling, shocking, very real lake we jump into daily. Dig Lucien Freud at age 82, FULLY alive, doing his work…We’re going to start a BACK TO THE FACE MOVEMENT.

Lucien Freud, 82, painting
David Dawson

(Check our Ellen’s startling photos of Cuban kitchens, where a so much is made with so little…).

Thanks Ellen!

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3 replies on “Fantasy Facelift Redux: ‘It is better to look forward and out’

  1. But of course we look at the photo and see a quite beautiful woman with utterly enviable hair doing what she loves to do. That seems like beauty to me…..

  2. My first reaction upon seeing this photo of two vibrantly alive people was that I wanted to be like the woman pictured in it, and was shocked to then read of her dismay at seeing herself. I cheer on all of the young people around me in the process of fixing and remaking a broken world, but am saddened by the seeming lack of interest in the wise elders around them who know a thing or two about getting on. As your photo of Lucian Freud, a painter with intimate knowledge of human wrinkles, tells us, creativity and improvisation doesn’t cease with age, it’s enhanced!

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