A film about Joan
Childhood friends Lizzie Mayson and Amber Felix both work as photographers and film makers. For our Age Does Not Matter Festival at the Oxo Bargehouse in September 2017, we commissioned them to make a film portrait of Amber's grandmother, Joan. We asked them a bunch of questions about age and life.
Do you think how old you are, is relevant to how you think about yourself?
Amber: Yes, I often think about how old I am, but it's more from a structural/ critical perspective and linked to worry. Am I in the right place /space for my age etc etc.? Ultimately, I don't think it should be like this, but I think it's a cultural imposition, that we have to be reaching certain points at certain ages. And then again health. I worry that my health will start to decline and I won't be able to do everything that I want to do in time. Even when I know this is silly because my mother and grandmother have a collective 150 years between them and show no signs of slowing down!
Lizzie: It is a complete state of mind, I think it's a decision you make.
Do you think how old you are, changes the way people think about you? Why? Is there a difference between people who know you and people who you have just met?
Amber: Not really at my age, I think 28 is a funny middle ground where people don't pass too much judgement, yet!
What is your biggest stress in your life at the moment? Do you think it this is age specific?
Amber: MONEY!!! (and time) and finding a balance between surviving in a capital city and achieving what you want and doing what you believe in. I've ended up working in more of a creative industry which does have pockets of money but it's not bountiful by any means, so you end up doing a lot of work for free / self initiated projects. This is still a very privileged position to be in and I am very grateful for every day that I get to work with people I love and am inspired by. Some people may never have that opportunity. I think this is a universal problem to be honest. We live in a world structured around a global economic market, so there will always be peaks and troughs.
"In a society where age doesn't define us it could only lead to a feeling of more equality and opportunity."
Lizzie: Work is my biggest stress, I imagine working all my life so I don't think it is age specific.
What is the thing which makes you happiest at the moment? Do you think it is age specific?
Amber: Freedom, or a perceived freedom. I have no children or mortgage so I'm free to follow every whim or path that comes my way, within. I think this is age specific, but things could have turned out very differently, so it's dictated by choices in the past rather than current age, I think.
Do you like spending time with people of other ages? Why? What do you gain?
Amber: I like a mixed bag, I LOVE spending time with older generations. They are so inspiring and they usually come into situations with a great carefree energy, same with younger people actually.
Lizzie: Spending time with other ages is usually positive, they are able to teach/show you another perspective, and likewise reversed.
What do you think are the biggest challenges we face across all ages?
Amber: Maintaining happiness, contentment, acceptance and gratitude. Some friends of mine have this year launched an expansive mental health awareness project. The biggest thing that I have learnt from their work is understanding that mental health can be a problem for everyone, no matter what gender, age, religion, background.
"I like a mixed bag, I LOVE spending time with older generations, they are so inspiring and they usually come into situations with a great carefree energy, same with younger people actually."
Lizzie: In an ever increasing world, filled with such competitiveness and survival, learning to enjoy the smallest of things/moments. So, trying to keep your head not too far in the future, making sure you can't see what is going on right now.
What do you think the benefit is of people of different ages spending time together?
Amber: There are too many to list ! Everything!
What can you learn from people who are older?
Amber: Trust, that things work out OK in the end. And to laugh! The best and happiest people I know who are older are those who know how to find the fun in any situation.
Lizzie: To not take so much too seriously. Lots of things are out of your control, but try to be in control of what you can change.
What can you learn from people who are younger?
Amber: Energy, to keep reinventing the wheel, embracing change and new developments.
Lizzie: Sometimes it's good to act first and think later. With age, often you can be too cautious. Jumping into situations can lead to unexpected people/places/things.
What do you think is the benefit of a society where our age does not define us?
Amber: If this was the case, it would have a hugely positive impact and is something we should continue to try to encourage and embrace. Everyone has something to contribute.
Lizzie: In a society where age doesn't define us, it could only lead to a feeling of more equality and opportunity.
You can see more of Amber and Lizzie's work at:
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