A desire to highlight Paeroa’s “beautiful” senior citizens is the latest photography project for a community volunteer.
Lyn McHugh has set out to capture as many of Paeroa’s senior citizens as she can for a one-day exhibition at Paeroa’s former racecourse for October’s International Day of Older Persons.
Lyn told The Profile she wanted to give back to her community through the exhibition.
“I was looking for a project so what I did was I looked up all the days we have dedicated to different things and I came across this day for the elderly,” she said.
“It’s a fairly new one that’s done through the United Nations. I just got thinking I’ve lived in Paeroa for around 30 years… and I’ve worked for a lot of people, I volunteer with a lot of people and our elderly get very little recognition.
“I love taking spontaneous photos, I love going out and seeing people at their work and snapping them… [so] for me to give back something to this community I [thought I] could do these portraits of our senior citizens, they’re so beautiful.”
Lyn said she planned to take photos of Paeroa’s seniors aged 60 years and over in environments where they felt most comfortable. “At the last Paeroa RSA mini market, I set up a stand there, and instead of doing these posed portraits where everyone looks so stiff with forced smiles, I took down their names and phone numbers,” she said.
“I’ve only had four or five people come to me directly but I do have a whole pile of names and addresses now that I’ve accumulated.
“I’m going to be going to different organisations and put it out there as well.”
Lyn also hoped the project would also highlight the purpose of the International Day of Older Persons, which is to raise awareness of issues affecting elderly.
“Loneliness has been one of the big ones… not many of them are into the digital world,” she said.
“I’m classed as an elderly person which I find is quite strange and I took up the digital world in 1990 and actually taught it to the elderly through Wintec at one stage, so I know there are quite a lot of people who don’t have that ability.
“There are also families who forget that it doesn’t take much to pick up the phone and just say ‘hello, how are you doing? Can I do something for you?’”
Details: Exhibition of Paeroa’s community elders, Paeroa’s Former Racecourse, October 1.