Marna Clarke is a photographer. She takes pictures of herself, mostly, and her partner Igor -- some around the house and others at the beach. What makes these photographs radical to some, however, is that Marna is 74 years old.
"This project began simply when I turned 70, four years ago, and began to think of myself as getting old," Clarke explained to The Huffington Post. "I wanted to see what 'old' looked like on me, so I started taking pictures of my naked body: feet, hands, torso, arms, legs, face, hair. I needed to hold pictures in my hands, not just look in the mirror for a temporary glimpse."
Clarke's photographs operate as quiet yet powerful rebellions against mainstream culture, a culture that writes off elderly bodies as irrelevant and unworthy. The photographer snaps simple and raw portraits of herself stripped down to her bare skin, the same skin she's worn for years. And the results are absolutely beautiful.
"I dug up the courage to show this work to a very select group of people whom I thought would appreciate it. I received encouragement along with some complete confusion and bafflement. Not everyone is ready to look at naked bodies, much less old ones. I was wandering into some of our cultural taboos, namely the aging, their naked old bodies and death."
Clarke sometimes folds photos of her younger self into the works, juxtaposing images to create minimalist diagrams of time's passing. Yet out favorite images are the unembellished closeups -- a hand here, a back there -- that capture the beautiful stories embedded in our flesh.
"In this youth-worshipping culture, the elderly are often ignored, forgotten, invisible. Yet we humans are always curious about others and hungry for truths. So, I decided to bring attention to those of us considered elderly, whose lives are not about raising children or building careers anymore, who are independent, healthy and active and have the time and energy to pursue new and old interests, who are not yet 'old-old.' I wanted to impart the beauty and spirit of this time through pictures of my life and me."
"In doing so," Clarke continued, "I hoped to shine light on us elderly, to make us visible and appreciated by ourselves and by those younger, to help us be more comfortable with our bodies and the wrinkled skin, cracking nails, yellowing teeth, whatever was happening, to change the conversation about aging and the outdated paradigms of what’s beautiful and necessary for a satisfying life."
Clarke's photos capture this beauty of the human form at any age, as well as the radiating glow of self-love. See the stunning portrait of life after 70 below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.