Diversifying ageing: Fresh perspectives - the new image library collection
This image library collection illustrates the experiences of people who are often underrepresented among older age groups.
We worked with Independent Age to produce nearly 700 photos, as well as quotes of people we photographed. This project hopes to both amplify participants’ voices and increase the visibility of the underrepresented communities involved.
Ageing Better partnered with Independent Age to share new photos that show the diversity of people aged 50 and over in England as part of our Age-positive image library.
The new collection aims to improve depictions of older people with different life experiences, highlighting people living across diverse communities and from a range of socio-economic backgrounds.
The new photos illustrate the experiences of people who are often underrepresented – those who live on low incomes, identify as LGBTQ+ or are aged 70 and above. And the collection showcases later life across the country, from Brighton to Manchester and beyond.
While things are beginning to evolve, it’s still rare for me to see images of people who look like me in print or digital media. The more we see ourselves reflected, the more we feel at home in ourselves.
I worked til I was 75 and a half and it amazes me that I can't afford to sit down in my own home and put the heating on. I can’t afford to be warm. I haven’t got enough savings to help me so this cost-of-living crisis, these energy prices, they’ve knocked me for six really.
I was trying to pay the bills with just my State Pension and didn’t know how to make ends meet. When the letters from the bank, energy company and other creditors started coming through saying, ‘You have to pay this much by this month – or else’, I was so frightened. I thought I was going to lose the flat.
We were so pleasantly surprised at what an enjoyable experience it was, and we went away feeling like we’re contributing. We felt lovely about seeing the photos because it was like seeing our relationship validated.
It’s important that older people are seen to be healthy, active, and still useful members of society. It’ is particularly important that members of the LGBTQ+ community are seen in this way, and not just a minority group with no significant role to play in society.
The experience of being in the Age-positive image library was awesome, as is any opportunity to represent my LGBTQ+ community.
I’m Disabled, registered blind, but I do my best to go out and go to the shop. Things are troublesome because I have to pay everything and everything is going up.
My health is not good, I’ve got diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis. I take six pills in the morning, two in the afternoon and another two in the evening. My husband had a stroke and is paralysed on the left side. I don’t know where we’d be without our daughters, they do everything for us.
The participants were asked about their experiences of ageing in 2023, and talked about dealing with financial hardship and health conditions. We also spoke to them about their experience of being involved in the image library and the importance of representation for over 50s.
The themes for the latest collection were suggested by image library users from an Ageing Better survey. Future collections later this year are also planned to take inspiration from what library users and Ageing Better supporters want to see, putting a spotlight on aspects of later life that are currently represented.