I had the pleasure of spending much of last week with photographer Heidi Wagner. Heidi’s photo series The Passions Project aims to change the face of aging by highlighting all the positive, productive ways in which seniors spend their time. We were excited to have her on campus, and we can’t wait to see the photos she took of Immanuel residents during our 20 sessions.
One of the best things about the week was that I got to learn more about some of the residents here at Immanuel. Over the course of the week, I talked with a three painters, two pianists, a woodcarver, a restorer of classic cars, and a stamp collector, among many others.
Some of the residents my colleagues and I talked with continue to pursue their passions as avidly as they ever did. The philatelist, for example, keeps adding new stamps to her album and attends monthly meetings of the local stamp club. For others, it’s gotten hard or even impossible to do everything they used to. The restorer of classic cars no longer has either the physical capacity or the appropriate workspace to continue his work, and the woodcarver has developed a health condition that makes it unsafe for him to use sharp blades. But that doesn’t mean they’ve lost their passions. Their eyes still light up when they talk about these activities, and they’re still able to share the knowledge they gained over years of pursuing them.
I’ll admit, it was a busy and somewhat draining week. After three to five interviews and photo shoots, I certainly went home every evening ready to put my feet up! But it was fun to talk to people about their passions, and I learned so much about residents I’ve known in some cases for a couple of years. I also made some amazing new acquaintances and learned about what they love—and, in some cases, about their personal histories.
I’m excited to share with you some of what I learned last week about twenty remarkable individuals. Once we have the photos, I’ll share some of those, too. What The Passions Project shows is that we don’t have to stop pursuing our passions as we age, and that passions don’t stop being passions just because we can’t engage in them in the ways we once did.
If you’d like to see The Passions Project photos in person, don’t forget to mark your calendar for the opening reception at 5:30pm on Thursday, October 11 at Buffalo Hill Terrace.