Altered Horizons 17

Altered Horizons 17 Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops a fabricated landscape using old photos instead of newer shots of aged plants, and wonders why we can't appreciate the beauty in aging.

At the beginning of summer I photographed fresh hostas and dahlias in my garden, well before the ravages of time, heat, rabbits and slugs, too much rain, and not enough rain. Early September’s photo-shoot of the same patch of plants showed brown-tipped, yellowed and nibbled leaves with dusty spider webs between them. For my contrived landscape this week, I decided to go with the earlier photos. Transporting them to Photoshop, I crafted the young dahlia into a sun rising over a field of bright raindrop-splattered hostas.

Walking along a trail with friends recently, our conversation somehow turned from comparing favorite foods at Trader Joe’s to lamenting about our growing old. It seems many of us are now experiencing devastating loss of our former beautiful, strong, young and healthy selves. And it’s kinda sad how we view our aging faces and bodies as pathetically imperfect. Not particularly eager to display my current bespectacled, slightly wrinkled appearance, I, myself, have not updated my profile photo in years.

In Photoshop, I manipulated images of a favorite ancient scarf to frame this picture. Graceful aging, in some things like vintage clothing, is respected. Valued, even.

There are no great mysteries to sort out in this fabricated landscape. Except, maybe, why I chose to use July’s photos of the greener, fresher plants instead of the dusty, more interesting, older ones I’d just shot. Why is it we can’t appreciate the natural maturing of living things as they approach the ends of their lifetimes?

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6 thoughts on “Altered Horizons 17

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Hi Margaret. Long time, no see. What’s a little bemoaning here and there gonna hurt? Afterall, at our advanced age, we have a thing or two to complain about. But, inspired by you, I do put gratefulness as a priority. And I am very grateful to have made it up to seventy without too much deterioration. It feels kinda good to be able to gripe about something though. People seem to relate to my complaining more easily than to my rejoicing, and cheering, and complimenting everything.

  1. Elaine Mansfield

    I’m working on this issue and I love reading your perspective. We’ve learned to admire youth, even in plants. Thanks, Robin. My blog this week is on a similar theme.

  2. Lucy Bergstrom

    What is beauty? Why don’t we appreciate it when we embody it, we take it for granted and now must live with just glimpses of it, reflections in a shadowed mirror. I sometimes admire my collection of wrinkles, objectively, they’re rather interesting. But they don’t define me, they don’t hurt or make me feel self-conscious. You are aging well, Robin, and Marika would be looking older, too, if she had lived. Instead, she will remain forever young. Try to picture her with a few grey hairs, laugh lines, all that stuff. I love your dewy hostas and pink dahlia, but the hostas of September are worth a look, too. Maybe next time….
    Love, Lucy

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Yes, I am nursing a patch of worn hostas now. Letting the spiderwebs increase and their browning-up continue. If not completely convinced of their beauty, I am certainly getting totally into the much more interesting aspects of these old hostas. Oh, Lucy, I did actually age-up Marika’s face in Photoshop a year or two ago. Yep, wrinkling her up to about age 50, she was still beautiful. To me, anyway. Maybe for fun I should age myself up to 90 in Photoshop. Then, I could at least be more grateful for where things stand for the moment.


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