I spent two months (June-August 2015) capturing the lifestyle of the residents of Hogar Para Ancianos, a nice cottage-like senior citizen home in the town of San Ramon, Costa Rica. Much of the time, the residents there can be found sitting in old wooden rocking chairs or giant comfortable black leather recliners, listening to music, chatting, and reflecting on a long life in the warm sun and soft breeze.
Although the language barrier between English and Spanish limited our conversations, I enjoyed listening to their stories and I feel honored to have been allowed into the community. It was a pleasure transitioning from a stranger to becoming friends with the residents.
There are many stories captured in the faces of these senior citizens. This project reinforces that elders are important to society. Aging should be something to celebrated respected, and these photos pay homage to their achievement of living a long life.
The closeup portraits are meant to capture the essence of each individual person, and convey that presence to the viewer. While photographing, I felt inspired by their perseverance in overcoming adversity. Many of the residents have physical ailments and are living without the support of a family, yet they still happy and greet me with a smile everyday.
Through this experience, I have witnessed that the process of life is very much a looping circle as we return to dependency on others as we age, similar to our infancy at the beginning of our life. This further reiterates the notion that we are all connected and life is about helping others and in return receiving help as well. The product of one's life is measured in how you helped others as we all need help in this world.
© Dan Fenstermacher Photography