Same old, same old

By Karla White, Marketing and Communications Officer

We recently organised a photoshoot in Paignton and Torquay with people in later life. Why were we out and about taking photos? One of the objectives of the Ageing Well programme is to change perceptions of ageing, and what better way to do this than to start on your own doorstep.

Many marketing stock photos do not truly reflect what growing older really looks like. The same handful of marketing photos of stereotypical ‘older people’ have had their day and it’s now time to refresh the images of people in later life, to better reflect real lives, and importantly, what life looks like in Torbay.

We may not be able to change the media’s (mostly negative and stereotypical) portrayal of ageing overnight, but we can start with our own literature, brochures and reports. We’ve been told time and again that stock images of ‘professional seniors’ do not resonate with people, nor do depictions held through a lens of decline that often emphasise the many “burdens” of growing older.

The idea to create a collection of images was first thought of back in January, however, with the weather being what it was, with the snow and cold, and then yet more snow, we decided May would be a good time to start taking photos. In the meantime, we did a call out and also recruited a group of volunteers through the Torbay Community Development Trust’s Volunteer Centre.

We found around a dozen people who were aged over 50 and willing to be ‘models’ for the day.  Recruits had not really been in front of the camera before in an official capacity and all lived in Paignton or Torquay. We also recruited a volunteer photographer. It was important that although we needed certain ‘stock photos’, the person behind the camera was also over 50 and could bring their artistic vision to the project.

May came around pretty fast, and a few weeks ago, we boarded a bus and took a tour of Paignton and Torquay. We visited Torre Abbey Park, Pavilion Gardens, Torquay high street, Torquay Pier and Harbour, Paignton town centre, bus and train stations, Great Parks Community Centre, Paignton pier, cinema and seafront, to name a few! We covered activities from Zumba dancing to making a cup of tea, from sea kayaking to shopping in a supermarket, a really varied cross section of activities which we hope reflects life in Torbay.

Volunteers were asked to act out various activities which included pretending to post a letter and ‘drinking’ coffee from empty cups. We managed to get all of the images from our shot list, plus many more I hadn’t even imagined. Some of the more adventurous among our party even took part in some zip lining! All in all, we managed to take over a 4000 photos which you’ll soon see appearing in our promotional materials.

Many thanks and appreciation go to our volunteer photographer and to the group of volunteers for participating and making the photoshoots such a great success.

Would you like to take part? The Brixham photoshoot is coming up on Wednesday 30 May. If you are interested in modelling, this will be a half day and will include photos around Brixham Harbour and town, please let us know by calling 01803 212638 and asking for Karla White, email or visiting for more information.