Fifty plus and fabulous

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By Toni Williams

The latest project of Ashburton photographer Emmily Harmer (pictured) celebrates the wisdom and beauty of mature woman often overlooked by modern society.

It is a passion of Emmily’s.

The project is inspired by the strength and beauty of her 84-year-old grandma Colleen Byrne, of Takaka.

Emmily, who admits she is lucky to still have four generations of women in her family, says the wealth of knowledge older women have, their skills and their stories are being lost.

“Society has an obsession with youth and a concept of beauty, mostly portrayed in false settings such as Instagram or in the (advertising) media.”

“I want to use the project to photograph those women often overlooked on such platforms and hear their stories.”

The personal stories behind every woman is just as intriguing, she said.

Emmily says women were often the last people who wanted to get in front of a camera, and they would put their children or grandchildren first, but she hoped to have 50 women who will sit for her.

Those who do take part, for a reduced cost, get the full photography experience enjoying drinks and nibbles, hair and makeup, a project tee-shirt and one free print.

At the end of the project, Emmily plans to exhibit the works.

“Many women are so hesitant to do this by themselves, so they can share the experience with someone close to them.”

“It’s not easy to get in front of the camera,” “Emmily admits.

“But I would like more women to sit for me.”

It’s not the first photography project Emmily has done.

She has also created, and exhibited, Women “Suffrage 125 Women In Work, the EA Network Centre’s Faces of Our Gym and is working on the In My Chair project with everyday people popping in to have their photograph taken in the studio.