In our heavily Botoxed culture, it’s rare to see images that present aged skin as beautiful. That’s part of what makes Missouri-based photographer Anastasia Pottinger’s ongoing series, “Centenarians,” so powerful. In these black-and-white shots of people over the age of 100, the skin, close-up and abstracted, appears to be a fluid current of running water; legs appear as petrified tree branches.
The series began when a 101-year-old woman volunteered to model nude for Pottinger, under one condition: that she not be identified by name in any of the photographs. “It was merely an exercise in documenting her form in a beautiful way,” Pottinger writes in her artist statement. “She was willing to do anything I asked of her.”
Reviewing the images on her computer later, Pottinger was so moved as to want to continue the project. She says responses to the series have been “remarkable”: “Whether it’s wondering, ‘Is this what I’m going to look like?’ or remembering a loved one, the response seems to be universally emotional on some level,” she writes. Pottinger is currently recruiting willing models who’ve lived into the triple digits on her website.