Senior Beauty

Spotlight / Creative Spotlight
Lauren Catten
Jun 13, 2024
With an ageing population throughout the globe, it has never been more important for older generations to be represented and seen within the visual sphere.
What counts as senior in terms of age is hard to define. A visibility gap exists around people aged 50+ and when depicted, age‑related stereotypes are still very pervasive. Older people are much more likely to be depicted being cared for rather than becoming entrepreneurs, for example. Ageing, alongside body inclusivity and religion, occupies a growing area of representation and inclusion as the fight for equity continues in all aspects of identity.

Johnny Greig, an Exclusive creator based in London, is part of a new era of photographers who are recognising the importance of reframing what it is to be senior. The catalyst of this shoot was a model, a friend of Johnny’s, who had been photographed in an underwear shoot by famous fashion photographer Rankin. She had enjoyed the experience so much she wondered if Johnny might be interested in shooting something similar. This felt an amazing opportunity to explore issues around seniority and sensuality.

Getty Images' VisualGPS latest research reveals that 1 in 3 people say they rarely or never see visual stories featuring individuals aged 50+ and that imagery popular with customers is weighted towards the younger generations with 2.5 times as much content featuring under 40 as over. When it comes to beauty visuals, they are almost always of women in their 20s. What does this say about what we think about older bodies, older skin? Is it not still beautiful, still sexy?

We went into this shoot with a view to representing senior people in their full beauty and sensuality, disrupting stereotypes and diversifying our narrow concept of beauty.
This was the first time Johnny and I had worked together and was one of his first portrait shoots for Getty Images, working on a unique and unfamiliar subject matter. We took time over the casting to make sure we chose a diverse selection of women who would shine in a situation many would find too intimate or revealing. I wanted to play with lighting to have options to show the women as comfortable and happy in natural light and sensual in lower, darker tones.

It was a joyous day. The stylist and make‑up artist were brilliant, making subtle touches and additions that really elevated the shoot. It was comfortable and respectful on set with the women feeling looked after and relaxed.

The results are a beautiful representation of sensuality framed in a new perspective. With these images, we can look to subvert the way seniors are portrayed in advertising and help our customers more successfully engage with this ever‑growing and important demographic.
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