Happy at 60
We asked the two photographers behind the project, Petri de Pità and Zhu Yinghao, about their motivation behind 'Happy at 60' and their views on age.
Do you think age matters?
Petri Yes I do, I think that, just like in nature, there is a time, a purpose and a reason for everything. But don’t get me wrong, this does not mean I think that seniors should be abandoned in homes like our European culture is doing now. In China (and this is unfortunately changing nowadays) and many other parts in the world, seniors have a specific role within the family, they help their children raise their grand-children, they take care of the house and food, or they still produce and sell some handicrafts. This brings stronger bonds within the family and healthier life for the seniors who are still active and not stuck in front of TV all day.
Zhu Yes, age does matter to me, it's the universal rule you need to follow, no exception.
Has this photo-series changed you and how you view age?
Petri Yes indeed, I thought that people from different countries and culture would have different ways of being happy… but what I realised is that for most old people in the world, what matters is family, health and nature.
"What I realised is that for most old people in the world, what matters is family, health and nature."
Petri de Pità
Zhu It did change me somehow, though sometimes I am not aware of it. The most important thing I learned from this project was that whatever age you are, you are justified to find your own happiness. The pursuit of happiness has nothing to do with your age (getting old), so just go for it!
Describe the project and your motivation for doing it?
Petri As a photographer, I have cerated a few projects comparing cultures from different countries, focusing on their similarities rather than their differences. I believe that it is easier to understand a stranger through what is similar to you rather than what is different. I had been chosen to do a photo project comparing people and their relation to happiness at 60, to celebrate the 60 years of diplomatic relations between China and Switzerland. I always wanted to work with someone on a big project so I asked Chinese photographer and friend Zhu Yinghao to join the team and he then shot the Swiss models.
Zhu I was curious about life for people who are getting older, and I wanted to explore the different life styles and impacts on people from different cultures.
How old are you?
Petri I was 39 at the time of the project in 2010.
"The most important thing I learned from this project was that whatever age you are, you are justified to find your own happiness. The pursuit of happiness has nothing to do with your age (getting old), so just go for it!"
Zhu I am now 43 years old.
How old are the people in your project?
Petri They are all 60 years old.
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