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Alex at 100

Alex in the gardenThis week our friend Alex turned 100 years old. We have been friends since my husband and I moved to our neighborhood 26 years ago. Since then, Alex has entertained us with his harmonica and singing. He is known to stand on his porch and yodel to neighbors and to passers-by.

Alex has been my muse for many photographs, with a love of the camera and a penchant for hamming it up. The first of September he moved from his home to an assisted care center a couple of miles away. He was not too happy about the idea, but it seemed the best way to take care of his aging body.

I decided to make some photographs of him before he moved from his house.  I photographed him as he dug up his last potatoes in the garden he would leave behind. It was a bit of an emotional moment.

His main concern about moving to assisted care is that people would think he is “old.” “But you are old, Alex,” I said. “One hundred is quite a milestone.” The thing is that Alex can bring joy everywhere he goes. I do believe he will have them all dancing at the retirement center.

On his 100th birthday this week we took him out to our favorite music venue where he was celebrated with a chocolate cake. At the end of the evening he took out his C-harp and played a polka for all of us.

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Behind the scenes: this photograph was made with a 4×5 view camera using selective depth of field.


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