New exhibition: the Art of Ageing




Hooray! I have a new exhibition that starts this Friday, October 21. It’s called The Art of Ageing and it’s going to be at the Sydney Town Hall until Sunday.




The exhibition is the result of a commission I received this year by the Department of Family and Community Services to capture older people in a way that is more positive and varied than typical images portray them.

It was an interesting project for all sorts of reasons. I travelled all around Sydney to photograph a wide range of cultural backgrounds, which I always love. Some of the shoots were challenging because of people’s physical limitations. And it was interesting personally because recently I’ve become a little obsessed with trying to understand ageing. I find myself asking random people over the age of 60, how does it feel to be older? Not as in aches and pains, but do you feel massively different to who you were 20 years ago or are you essentially the same – except for more wrinkles and grey hair?

After doing this project, I’ve ended up with more questions. Like, why is Western society so obsessed with youth? And why does the human body degrade so much while the brain often stays relatively young?

Anyway, after meeting and photographing some pretty inspiring people who just happen to have spent longer on the planet than others, I’ve found myself feeling more positive about ageing. Lucky because there’s not much you can do about it!

A sneak preview of a few other pics that will appear:


Simply Voices Choir

Simply Voices Choir




Aunty Glenda

Aunty Glenda








The Art of Ageing exhibition; Sydney Town Hall (Lower Town Hall); Friday 21 October-Sunday 23 October: 9am-3pm; Free

The images are nice and big (1.3 metres wide) but there are only 14 so it won’t take you long to whip around. And I’d also love to hear your opinion on why the Western world is so ageist and how you personally feel about getting older. I can feel another project coming on!

  1. Di Nash says:

    Hello Lou, it’s been a while since I bought your books but I’m happy to reconnect.
    I’ve retired now, so less time to read blogs etc (haha must have been a busy job…)
    So that’s part of ageing, retiring!! It’s fantastic.
    I also like being older as I can own those wrinkles now! I’ve noticed as I’ve got older (hubby agrees) that young people in the main, just don’t look at you. Unless you are actually engaging with them. Pass them in the street or on the bus, they just don’t notice. I actually like it!! It’s a kind of freedom, not having to worry what you look like so much. There ain’t nothing you can do about your wrinkles really. And some of us have more than others thanks to our youth spent frying on the beach.

    I guess young people are still programmed to look for a partner, feel peer group pressure to look good? Perhaps it’s to do with the procreation thing hard wired into us all??
    At any rate, I still feel young inside, but definately wiser. Actually I try to be a beautiful person, even though I don’t look it so much. (I’m 62).
    My mum, who died at 79, always used to say “I feel like I’m 28”. I get it!!
    Hope I can get into the city to see your exhibition.
    Congratulations in advance.
    Di. X

    • Louise says:

      Hello Di! So lovely to see your name pop up again. I think you’re right about the evolutionary aspect of ageing – that once humans are no longer able to procreate, others view them as almost irrelevant (or, as you say, they don’t even view them!) I’m heartened to hear you speaking so highly of older age though. Thanks for contributing to the discussion! x

  2. Jillian says:

    Well done! The images look so colourful, strong and upbeat. In my (ageing) world of friends I’m constantly struck by how much people do. Not how little. Even friends with health issues.
    Terrific to see your work here, but I’m sorry it isn’t in Brisbane too. Maybe it could visit? Brisbane City Hall? Thankyou and good wishes.

    • Louise says:

      Thanks Jillian, glad you like the images. And I think there are plans to tour the exhibition – I’ll ask the department if they can head to Brissy!

  3. Jodie says:

    Lovely to hear from you again Louise! Congratulations on your new exhibition!! Unfortunately I can’t get to Sydney this weekend so thank you for sharing this little sneak peak!
    My plan is to ignore the numbers and make the most of every stage of life. I hope to pack as much in to every year as I can and maybe one day somebody will ask me how old I am and I will have genuinely forgotten!!
    I’m excited to hear you are considering another project!

    • Louise says:

      Thanks Jodie and yes, I think packing as much into every year is a great approach – in general, not just as one ages – because you never know how long you’ll be on the planet for.

  4. Susie says:

    Louise… I’m so excited about your new exhibition this weekend about Ageing. I’ve been following your work since you started your 52Suburbs project. Just love your work and enjoy revisiting it. You’re such an inspiration and although I know absolutely nothing about photography I am for some reason so taken with the images you capture. All the best.

    • Louise says:

      Oh thanks so much Susie. I love that I’ve made you love photography!

  5. Magda says:

    Louise – missed your photos and blog and travels, great to read your blog again and look at always gorgeous and ‘real’ photos :)
    And I always get along better with old people, better than with people my own age or younger – I think they are so rich and can teach you a lot and are always full of interesting stories… I think these days with the the technology and being stuck inside and at work most of the time we don’t get to ‘live’ and enjoy the people and world around us as much as people used to… I don’t mind getting older, I just hope I’ll be a lovely old lady with lots of stories to tell :)

    • Louise says:

      I agree Magda, older people can be much more interesting. Not always, but often!

  6. Chris says:

    Love it! Great to show older generations in a more positive light. Congratulations.

    • Louise says:

      Thanks Chris. It is amazing when you Google ‘older people’, the images are usually of white people doing the gardening, or people in nursing homes. Not hugely inspiring! (Not that there’s anything wrong with gardening – it’s a great pursuit – but surely you’d have to think older people are interested in something more!)

  7. Gabbie says:

    What a wonderful image of Heidi. The older I get, the more I look forward to being truer to who I am at my core and caring less about what others think. I look forward to no longer having to concern myself with looking youthful, fashionable and staying current/relevant. I probably shouldn’t care now, but it’s a lesson that’s hard to learn. Thanks for a reminder. It’s inevitable so may as well embrace it!!

    • Louise says:

      Heidi is wonderful isn’t she! As she admits, she’s buggered up her skin with all the sun exposure, but aside from that she’s so young, at 67 years of age. She swims every day pretty much, sketches/paints religiously, sings in a choir, etc etc. She’s a great example of how passions and purpose don’t stop as you age. If anything, there’s just more time to dedicate to them. Hooray!

  8. Valya says:

    I had been thinking that I had not seen an email from you for a while. Glad you are back. I am in Boston and will not be able to get to the actual show in person. Will you have it on line at any time for those like myself to see? Great work as usual.

    • Louise says:

      I might post the full exhibition next week, so stay tuned. Hope you’re still in Boston when the US election happens – that would be interesting ;)

  9. Syl Hayes says:

    Just gifted your book 52Suburbs to my photographer friend. Although she is attending photography classes, she really appreciated your wonderful book, as I did when I first bought it. Great to read of your new projects. Love your work, so inspiring.

    • Louise says:

      Oh thanks Syl! That’s lovely of you to say.

  10. Libby says:

    Hi Louise, I didn’t hear about what you do until I started Photography and Digital Media as one of my electives for school. I saw all the work you’ve done and have felt truly inspired. I really love what you do and hope you continue to do it for a long time. Your pictures are really inspirational, and hopefully will spread respect of the elderly in our communities. My community is full of elderly people, and we get a group of elderly ladies who walk past the bus every day. I wave at them every time they walk past, but I get these strange looks from my schoolmates and people from other schools. I would also like to congratulate you on your new expedition. All the best.

    • Louise says:

      Thanks so much Libby. And keep waving at the older ladies – I know they’d absolutely love that recognition.

  11. Aysha says:

    Hi there Louise, my Mum bought me your book 52 Suburbs Around the World for my 41st birthday this year. Its been something I read through for inspiration, I’m a single mum whose daughter is 7 and live in rural Australia but have mostly lived in big cities or more culturally diverse areas. your book has taken places that I’ve not been able to go myself so its been something that nurtures my nomadic side when I’ve been mostly sedentary for over a decade. About ageing, I’m interested in the language around it and (in western society) how we come to determine at what age people are ‘older’. Am I older ? im 41 or is older 45 or 50 or older than this again ? At some stage people become ‘older’ like it’s fixed and what’s it really all about…. A lot to think about ThanksLouise !

    • Louise says:

      Aysha, I agree with you about the whole ‘older’ thing. I always think to myself, as old as I might feel at the present time, when I look back on this time in 10 or 20 years, I will be shocked by how ‘young’ I was. Ageing is so relative. (And I’m glad you’ve been able to roam around the world, albeit in a vicarious way, via our book. I know myself that just viewing other people’s adventures does help to satisfy my eternally restless spirit – I would travel so much more if I could, but at least I can ‘see’ more of the world through other people’s eyes. But of course there is nothing like the real thing – I hope all of us travel-hungry people get to do it more!)

Order my first book online

Buy the 52 Suburbs Book online

Find out more about the Sydney book here



EnglishItalianChinese (Traditional)GermanFrenchHindiTurkish