“I laughed and cried — what a wonderful group of stories!” says a note in the exhibition comments book for Positively Ninety at the Sharonville Fine Arts Center, which run through May 21. Someone else writes, “A wonderful collection of interesting faces!”
The faces belong to people who are 90 years old or more, going about their lives with zest and relish. Photographer Connie Springer's nonagenarian portraits, completed under the now discontinued (as part of budget cutbacks) city of Cincinnati Individual Artists Grant Program, were first shown at the Kennedy Heights Arts Center in January 2009. The exhibition has had an unexpected continuing existence. Sharonville is the show’s seventh venue (it’s been exhibited at the Hyde Park Health Center, Anderson Center, Clifton Cultural Arts Center, Oxford Community Arts Center and the Centennial Barn near Wyoming). The portraits also appear in a book of the same name, created due to popular demand.
Nonagenarians are sometimes overlooked, she feels.
“We see stories about people who are 100 or more, and those in their eighties, but 90-year-olds are under-studied,” Springer says.
Her own discovery of 90-year-olds came in response to her mother's decline and eventual death in a nursing home.
“I had a jaded view of age,” she says. “I wondered, ‘Is that my destiny?’ "
Positively Ninety is on view through May 21 at Sharonville Fine Arts Center. Go here to read Jane Durrel's full interveiw.