Respecting My Elders
Dr. Billy Taylor, Musician © Ellen Wallenstein
Rhea Sanders, Painter © Ellen Wallenstein
Francine du Plessix Gray, Author © Ellen Wallenstein
Arthur C. Danto, Philosopher/Art Critic © Ellen Wallenstein
Ned Rorem, Composer © Ellen Wallenstein
Albert Maysles, Filmmaker © Ellen Wallenstein
Wof Kahn, Painter © Ellen Wallenstein
Bel Kaufman, Author © Ellen Wallenstein
Murray Louis, Choreographer © Ellen Wallenstein
Rosalind Solomon,Photographer © Ellen Wallenstein
David Vestal, Photographer © Ellen Wallenstein
Estelle Ellis, Writer © Ellen Wallenstein
Respecting My Elders is a collection of color portraits of creative persons over the age of eighty, photographed in their homes and studios. They are the artists and intellectuals of my parents’ generation, born at the turn of the last century, whose wisdom and insight are important to us all. Known as “The Greatest Generation”, and coming of age between the two World Wars, the effect of their contributions upon future generations is evident in their cultural legacies. These include books, poems, paintings, photographs, plays and performances, as well as important breakthroughs in education, philanthropy and the sciences. As these persons enter the last phase of long and productive lives, I believe they deserve to be celebrated. My photographs are meant to capture their spirit and beauty, and to inspire admiration by future generations.
I work alone with a handheld camera in natural light. The photography sessions become collaborations between myself and my sitters, many of whom pose with objects of significance. The project is currently posted on UnitedStatesArtists.org, accepting contributions to create a unique website and a catalogue of a selection of portraits made in the last three years.
This endeavor builds upon a previous project, Opus for Anne which documented three years of weekly visits to an elderly Hospice patient who became a close friend. After knowing Anne I felt inspired to contact others of her generation who had influenced me artistically and intellectually.
Opus for Anne was awarded a NYFA Photography Fellowship and was nominated for the Santa Fe Prize in Photography.
Ellen Wallenstein is a Photographer, Writer and Professor of Art who lives in New York City.