Covid-19 has put the clock on hold for a lot of things (my two big exhibitions, one in Bristol and the other in Geneva, for starters, as well as my hip surgery) but it’s set it back in other ways.
Perhaps the most notable of these is in terms of ageism. The UK Government’s discourse that treats all ‘over 70s’ in one lumpen category has done us all a major disservice in that regard. I was reading a report in the BMJ and thinking, well this nails it, it’s exactly what I’ve been thinking. And then I saw that it actually really was what I’ve been thinking, as it references my work.
My overriding motive when I started taking photographs of elite sportsmen and women in the 60+ age groups was to try to dispel the automatic pairing of the notion of ageing with frailty. There’s no question that my photographic subjects challenge the stereotype that links older age with inevitable vulnerability and I felt we’d come a long way in the decade since I started towards opening up the idea that the years between 70 and 100 are as diverse as those between 10 and 40. If anyone suggested putting this latter group in the same category, it would be laughable. And yet that’s precisely what Covid-19 UK Government guidelines are doing for the over 70s. And nobody’s laughing, least of all, as a 70 year old, me.
Read the BMJ article on Covid-19 and ageism here: