This picture of Anne is from a 2006 calendar featuring residents living at the Claremont Retirement Residence in Toronto. The calendar affirmed in the minds of family, friends, the public and, most importantly, the residents themselves that their passion for life is meaningful and no less valuable because of their age.
Most folks photographed were in their 80s and 90s. At 78, Anne was the youngest—a refined, modest and somewhat shy woman. Like most of the seniors, she was wary of being in the project, especially when she was asked to pose precariously straddling two tables with a powerful fan blowing under her dress. But seeing herself as the calendar cover girl delighted her, and she confidently enjoyed a centre stage she had never dreamed of.
Hugh Wesley has photographed residents for six more calendars, which have raised more than $100,000 for charities. Each year the residents embrace a new theme with a take-no-prisoners attitude as they break the stereotype of seniors in retirement homes. And Anne has been in every calendar.
PhotoSensitive is a non-profit collective of photographers committed to using black-and-white photography to address social issues. PhotoSensitive’s new exhibition, Picture Change, is a Toronto-based show dedicated to highlighting the ways that photography makes a difference in the world by provoking action, reflection, or even a change in a policy or law.