The Passions Project

Capturing lives filled with enthusiasm, vitality and meaning

Though the photos on these pages capture other people’s passions, my own interest — photography — led me here. I embarked on The Passions Project with a clear but challenging purpose: to shift the paradigm of how people view aging in our culture.

For 11 years, I worked at a retirement community in Boulder, Colorado, where the residents inspired me every day. They were always engaged in interesting activities, sharing stories of travel adventures or making me jealous with how they were living their best life.

Imagine my surprise when I would proudly tell others about my work, and they would respond negatively, saying that it must be depressing, which was far from the truth. Their reactions showed me the gap between my engaging experience and people’s attitude about aging.

The people I met in the retirement community lived life with purpose. They inspired me to tell a different story of aging in the only way I knew how, by picking up my camera.

I was on a mission. I wanted to tell the real story of living and following your passion. When you see someone living their passion, you see what motivates them and inspires them to keep going.

You notice their age secondarily, if at all. The passion itself, be it squash or dancing, ends up fostering connections between people of all ages, including younger people who may not see themselves as having anything in common with older adults.

These pages feature photos of older Chicagoans living their lives with purpose. I hope in these images you see the real story of aging — living robustly, vibrantly, passionately.

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