When I Was Young I Was Considered Beautiful

I first met Norma Holt in the summer of 2007 when she and I were both, by chance, visiting the Schoolhouse Gallery in Provincetown.  We struck up a conversation that began a friendship, a photography project, and a journey for us both that continues to this day. 

Over the years our friendship evolved and one summer day we were just having a conversation and enjoying the fine Provincetown summer light and Norma stated, pretty matter-of-factly, “When I was young I was considered beautiful.”  The fact is she is still beautiful.  This statement started me thinking about how we rarely see older women in advertisements or TV (except for Betty White!)  And if we do see older women it is for medication or heath care not for a vibrant active working life.

Unknown to me at the time, Norma is a prominent New York and Provincetown (MA) photographer who continues to actively pursue her art and enjoy all of what life brings her.  Through Norma I am telling the universal story about aging and how one person creates a meaningful life with deteriorating physical state.

Norma is an inspiration.  Someone who is still thinking and creating and transforming her work and devising new projects and loving life irrespective of the physical challenges that aging brings.

This body of work is an intimate portrait of an independent creative spirit who also photographed artists.  This portrait of Norma's later life (from 89 years old on) is told both through words and photographs.  The words are serendipitous "Norma Wisdom" quotes, hopes, desires and longings that I started writing down because I wanted a fuller picture of aging and of Norma herself.  My plan is to have her words interspersed amongst imagery that depicts Norma herself: a consummate artist and fierce soul.

In Norma's world there is never a dull moment and retirement is NOT an option.


Laura Wolfe

Alan Strassman

Christy Stadelmaier

Ellen Toby Slotnick

Dianne Schaefer

Alice Shafer

Andrea Rosenthal

Linda Rogers

Richard Perry

Jane Paradise

Trelawney Goodell

Anne Diamond McNevin

Diane Davies

Nan Collins

Bob Avakian


Karen Davis

Course Assistant

Meg Birnbaum



Griffin Museum

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