Photo exhibition celebrates older people and tackles stereotypes at National Library of Wales


An exhibition that aims to shatter negative stereotypes about older people will be shown at the National Library of Wales on the occasion of the United Nations International Day for Older Persons.

Twelve people from across Wales aged 65 to 85 tell their stories through a series of photos taken by famous photographer Jon Pountney.

From a punk rocker to a mountain sheep herder and wild swimmers to allotment garden keepers, “This is Older” celebrates the diversity of the elderly.

“I am often inspired by the communities around me – my work is rooted in people, place and history,” says Jon.

“I hope that with these amazing stories told through imagery, we can change the narrative around older people and show the depth and breadth of the experience we gain as we age.”

Sheila Kamala, 78, and Linette Johnson, 71, at the STARGalott community allotment in Splott. Credit: Jon Pountney

Linette Johnson and Sheila Kamala attribute an active life to being on guard and disliking when the elderly are portrayed as passive and deserving of pity.

“We don’t fit into this mold [of older stereotypes] and a lot of people don’t fit that mold, ”says Linette.

“We hope that what we’re doing really encourages people to take an interest in something else. For those with the physical ability and the mental health, to do something positive, go ahead!”

“Let’s be positive, think positively, and do positive things.”

Patrick Dobbs, from Llanddeusant. Credit: Jon Pountney

Patrick Dobbs, 85, is a mountain sheep farmer who hopes to continue working on his Brecon Beacon-based farm for “another ten years – with a little help”.

Jay Edwards, 67, worked as a neonatal intensive care nurse in his native Australia, before moving to the UK. Credit: Jon Pountney

Jay and Helen have been married for over 20 years and have 12 grandchildren. Four in Great Britain and 8 living in Australia.

Jay’s advice is, “In our heads, we’re not old, it’s just our body telling us that.

“It’s all about perspective; make the most of the time – don’t worry about a thing. Above all, be kind to people. “

Gaynor Jones, 69, from Garw Valley Credit: Jon Pountney

Gaynor is a huge dance fan who enjoys restoring classic motorcycles in her spare time.

Chrissy Bolton of Rhos on Sea with Colwyn Bay Bluetits Swimming Group. Credit: Jon Pountney

A cancer survivor who lost her partner in 2019, Chrissy, 65, uses sea swimming to help her feel alive and invigorated while suffering from fibromyalgia and polymyalgia.

Paul Searle, 68, and his partner Jackie Bagnall, 61. Credit: Jon Pountney

Paul Searle is a former petrochemical engineer and has turned his family garden into a wildlife refuge.

Martin Briggs, 70, is a painter and printmaker in Canton, Cardiff. Credit: Jon Pountney

A painter and printmaker who plays in a local orchestra, Martin Briggs also manages to find time to enjoy sailing in Cardiff Bay.

Pantomime performers from the Taibach Rugby Club, Port Talbot. Credit: Jon Pountney

Victoria Lloyd, Managing Director of Age Cymru, who collaborated on this project, said: “There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ elderly person, and looking carefully at each of the images featured in our It’s older The exhibition will help the general public to recognize that aging does not mean losing your individuality.

“We are so proud of Jon’s exhibition and work, and hope the public will enjoy learning more about the life behind the photos as much as we do. ”

This Is Older is open for free admission until December 10, 2021 at the Gregynog Gallery, the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.


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