A woman's powerful photo series shows the beauty of being middle-aged

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"Three Generations," 2016.
Published by The Monacelli Press and Courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery
  • Photographer Elinor Carucci captures the beauty and complexity of middle age in her latest photo book "."
  • Carucci chronicles her own journey of being middle-aged through a series of intimate photos and self-portraits.
  • The photos document her life as she ages, showing her gray hair, intimate moments with her husband, and how her relationship with her children has changed over time.
  • Carucci told Insider that there are natural challenges that come with aging, and that it's also an important time to celebrate the beauty in growing older and wiser.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Elinor Carucci's book "Midlife," gives a look at what it means to be "middle-aged."

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Elinor Carucci.
Published by The Monacelli Press and Courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery

11选5精准杀号法"Midlife," published in October 2019, features photographs taken by and includes a foreword written by Kristen Roupenian.

11选5精准杀号法In the photo book, Carucci highlights the complexities of being at the middle of one's life.

"I wanted to talk about aging, about the kids getting more distant and leaving soon, about my 25 years of marriage with my husband," Carucci told Insider. "I wanted to talk about love, connection, joy, pain, loss, and the things that will never come back."

Carucci was inspired to begin documenting her midlife journey as she felt that the age group was being largely ignored and left out of societal conversations.

Winter, 2016
"Winter," 2016.
Published by The Monacelli Press and Courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery

"I was telling my friends that I'm doing a body of work about being middle-aged, they were like, 'Don't say it! Don't say it!'," Carucci said. "Then I'm like, 'Why not? We're not at the end, we're not dying, we're in the middle of our lives, this is such a beautiful time.'"

11选5精准杀号法Noticing that the subject of middle age seemed to be taboo among her female friends, Carucci wanted to start a positive conversation about the topic.

"We're in the height of our professional lives, we're in the middle of our career — something we worked so hard for," she said. "There is so much to talk about. We're smarter, we love more, and we feel more. There is a lot to celebrate."

The book includes a mix of candid and staged photos that examine and reflect on the larger themes of life such as change, family, and intimacy in the context of aging.

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Many of Carucci's photos involve her family.
Published by The Monacelli Press and Courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery

11选5精准杀号法Before she could talk about some of the themes of aging, Carucci said she knew she had to be vulnerable and embrace her experiences of middle age.

11选5精准杀号法"I wanted to create universal themes to talk about aging, love, pain, and loss. If you are a human being, a lot of those things exist in your life," Carucci explained. "I was trying to create images that were seducing and that had aesthetic qualities to them, but at the same time, I wanted them to talk about deep, and sometimes complex, difficult issues."

Many of the photos in "Midlife," include her family, and show her changing relationship with her daughters, mother, and husband. The reason Carucci said she chose to include them was because she wanted to take a deeper, more meaningful dive into the subject.

One photo in the series features an image of Carucci gazing at her daughter, who is looking down, avoiding eye contact, and is being comforted by her grandmother. The image is captioned, "My mother wants me to forgive my daughter." Each subject's facial expression in the photo suggests there is a complex relationship between them.

Carucci's photos are unapologetically raw, highlighting both the challenges and beautiful moments that can come with middle age.

Threegenerations2016
"Three Generations," 2016.
Published by The Monacelli Press and Courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery

Some of the defining factors that come with being middle-aged, such as graying hair and aging skin, are often masked by society. However, those are just some of the aspects of midlife that Carucci emphasizes and celebrates in the book. For example, she conveys the message that gray hair doesn't just symbolize aging; it can also represent wisdom.

"I think this is such a rich time in our lives that is filled with a deeper understanding of things, and deeper sense of love and of compassion," Carucci said. "We are wiser and have a better understanding of life's lessons."

The self-portrait style photos that make up the collection give viewers an up-close look at the photographer's personal life.

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"Eran and I," 2013.
Published by The Monacelli Press and Courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery

"Many times I'm creating my work from my life, because it's in my life where I know the best, where I can go the deepest," she reflected. "It's in my life where I know the fights, the difficulties, and the complexities."

Given the complex nature of aging, Carucci says the photos were "difficult to create" because she wanted to figure out how to talk about middle age in a deep and meaningful way.

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"Red #1," 2014.
Published by The Monacelli Press and Courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery

Carucci told Insider that one of her biggest struggles was figuring out how to properly tell her story in a relatable way.

"I think [the biggest challenge] was how to talk about middle age in a deep sense of the word," she said. "It was a challenge to figure out how to describe the complexities, how not to stay on the surface, how not11选5精准杀号法 to fall into clichés, and how to really talk about what things mean."

11选5精准杀号法For some photos in the collection, such as "Red #1," 2014, Carucci used her own blood to create red abstract paintings. In the book's afterword, she refers to red as "the color of an angry loss that I feel." 

Carucci said the project helped her feel more connected to herself during middle age.

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Carucci used a self-timer and tripod to capture photos of herself.
Published by The Monacelli Press and Courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery

11选5精准杀号法"I think that this is maybe the most original body of work I have ever created," Carucci said. "Taking these pictures has helped me connect more, understand more, see more, and feel more." 

11选5精准杀号法She said that her work has also left others feeling inspired and empowered.

"This body of work just made people appreciate and celebrate being in their 40s or 50s," she said. "It reminds them what this time in our life contains and that we can enjoy it. We can get over some of the pains and really enjoy this age that is so rich and so beautiful."

She hopes that her body of work is able to help change the conversation around being "middle-aged."

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The vibrant details in every photo are refreshingly straightforward.
Published by The Monacelli Press and Courtesy of Edwynn Houk Gallery

Through her work, Carucci hopes readers are inspired to see aging as a more positive and beautiful experience. She also wants to encourage more women to curate their own art and tell their stories through it.

11选5精准杀号法"We need more female curators. I want to see more women's work being acquired by museums," Carucci said. "I want to see more women exhibiting and selling their work. I really hope this will change in the future."

You can learn more about "Midlife," and some of Carucci's other projects on her .

SEE ALSO: Powerful side-by-side portraits show people over 100 years old next to their younger selves

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