In all, 21 seniors walked in and out of Marian Tagliarino’s St. Petersburg home. They came, bared their soul to the camera, and went back to their respective apartments in various Pinellas senior housing residencies.
These seniors make up Tagliarino’s St. Petersburg Arts Alliance-funded Sunshine Elders: SEE ME project.
Westminster Suncoast, the Enoch D. Davis Center, and American House St. Petersburg will host the portraiture exhibit through October.
Originally, Tagliarino wanted to photograph as many seniors as she could inside their personal dwellings but decided to opt for a more streamlined approach with the same lighting and background for everyone.
“They all had different socio-economic backgrounds, and I didn’t want it to be about that,” Tagliarino said. “I wanted it to be about them.”
The St. Pete photographer hatched the idea to photograph people 65 years and older because she feels older people fall through photographic cracks and are often not photographed in their later years.
A senior herself, she wanted to bring older adults into the limelight.
“I started with a list of questions to ask them and quickly threw them into the trash,” Tagliarino said. “I just want to show them how they are. They’ve all buried people, but they just go on. They’re happy and they help each other.”
Armed with her camera, Tagliarino met a 109-years-old woman, a Holocaust survivor, and a reverend, among other strong humans.
They stare into the camera, some playful, some stoic, but they all have one thing in common: They want to be seen.
“I hope people see me as a human being who tries to enjoy life, which is very short,” said Fernando Caicedo, 65. “As a senior, I want people to know that there is more than one chance to feel peace in our lives.”
Four chances to see Sunshine Elders: SEE ME project
Westminster Suncoast, 1095 Pinellas Point Dr. S., St. Pete. Oct. 3, 6:30-8 p.m. Reservations: email@example.com
Sunshine Senior Center, 330 5th St. N., St. Pete. Oct. 6, 3-8 p.m.,
Enoch D. Davis Center, 1111 18th Ave. S., St. Pete. Oct. 12, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
American House, 1101 66th St. N., St. Pete. Oct. 16, 12-2 p.m. RSVP: 727-513-8830.