Jenny O'Connor

Hitch a Ride with Visible Women at 60+

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When I started in 2012 (the year of my own 60th) my idea was to photograph 60 women who were 60. I had no idea whether that was possible, but I had a vision, set up a studio in Wellington and went for it. This idea is now a book, exhibition and a talking point for women around the world.  I want this collection of images to truly represents the depth and breadth of diversity of women in their 60s throughout Aotearoa and for this, I must travel. 

It took me 18 months to take the first 60 images. The process was very organic with the women coming to me through word of mouth. The $6,000 I am asking for will cover the cost of 60 days travel to meet and photograph more women around New Zealand. I plan to do this over the next 12 months and while I'm a master at travelling on the smell of an oily rag this will still cost on average $100 per day. I would love you to come along for the ride and donate.

I have happily invested my own funds into the project so far and it has cost a lot. Over the years, many of you have asked how you can help and the time has come for me to accept your offers of assistance. Your Boosted donation will mean I can complete this body of work as our legacy for future generations.   

 

A bit of history

After completing the original 60 portraits in mid-2013 I decided these images needed to be in a book, where they could lie around in peoples' homes and be enjoyed for generations to come. The book was published through Phantom House Books in March 2014 and it is beautiful.  I was interviewed by a New York based website in September 2014 and the article was the third most popular feature for all of 2014 and our '60x60x60' Youtube video suddenly had 15,000 views.  I was stunned and immensely proud to see photographs of beautiful New Zealand women in their 60s facing boldly out to the world.

I began to realise the project had struck a chord. Women from New Zealand and other parts of the world began contacting me, thrilled to see women just like themselves between the covers of a book. They felt connected, no matter how far the distance. In March 2015 the photographs were exhibited for the first time. The public came in their droves and again their response was heartwarming and real. See the feedback in the second banner image. 

As you can see it's been quite a journey so far - but the work isn't finished. I want this collection of images to truly represents the depth and breadth of diversity of women in their 60s throughout Aotearoa. To do that I need to travel from Stewart Island to Cape Reinga and photograph women from as many different places as possible. These images will lend a local flavour to the exhibition as it tours the country. 

The 'Visible Women at 60+' website www.visibleat60.com has lots more information about the project. I will keep you up to date with progress through the website, Facebook page, Twitter, the Blog and newsletter. 

To leave a smile on your face, here's an email I received from someone in Connecticut US...

"Hello Jenny, I just returned home after my day at the bridal shops for my 30 year old daughter. It was wonderful and then I thought oh dear what will I wear? I am turning 60 in July and want to look beautiful but ahhhh it's not as easy as it used to be. So I searched the web for real woman at 60-not stars with Botox and such-and came across you. Thank you! If you are in CT I would love to be part of your project and I have friends that are all turning 60 this year too!"

 

UPDATES

  • QUICK UPDATE ON MY TRAVEL PLANS

    19 MONTHS AGO

    Hi everyone. Just a quick update on my travel plans for the Visible project that you so generously donated towards.  As you know I used the money to buy a car and was plannng to set off for the South Island in April. But I was offered work that will run through to the end of June and couldn't turn it down, so my thinking is to do the trip in the Spring instead. The exhibition is showing in Palmerston North from mid-August to mid-November and we plan to do the live show again in early September which is really exciting. So late September is looking hopeful:)

    Once again thank you for your support and I'll keep you posted. Warm wishes.

    Jenny

  • Your donation gets Visible on the road

    24 MONTHS AGO

    Hi everyone

    I want to let you know how I have used the money you all so generously donated to the Visible project back in August. After thinking long and hard about the best way to travel the country to take more photos, I decided to put the donations towards buying the car you see in the photo. It just felt that spending on hiring vehicles was money down a black hole and it also meant I had less flexiblity to follow my nose. And to make sure the project is truly visible I had it sign-written on Friday.  This is an amazing little car - incredibly roomy and I can even sleep in it. The big plan is to head off down south in March or early April and see where it takes me. Later in the year I will do a good trip to the East Coast and prepare for the exhibition scheduled for Gisborne in 2017. 

    So that's the plan and only happening thanks to you. Have a great Christmas and new year and I look forward to seeing at some stage. Arohanui, Jenny

    Your donation gets Visible on the road
  • One final thank you for making sure Visible stays VISIBLE

    26 MONTHS AGO

    What can I say? Your generosity through this campaign has taken my breath away. I am so humbled and honoured on behalf of all the women who have made the project possible. The ones who have been brave enough to put themselves out there into the public arena and show the world who we are in our 60s and what is important to us. The ones who have nurtured me and looked after me at home and when I'm away. The people from all over the world who have bought the book and who engage through Facebook and make me smile when you like the page. All of you who came to the exhibiton at Pataka and wrote beautiful comments and laughed and cried throughout "Stepping Out at 60". Each and every one of you is important to this project and the reason that over 3 years on, Visible Women at 60+ still lives and breathes life.

    The donations through Boosted means I can get out to parts of New Zealand that I otherwise couldn't have and I can't wait to see who I meet and who ends up in this collection. 

    Some of you remained private and so I may meet you in everyday life and not even know that you contributed. But you will know how grateful I am for your support. 

    Thank you again. Arohanui

    Much love, Jenny

  • 3 days to go and target in sight - only $1,775 to go

    26 MONTHS AGO

    Hi amazing people

    Thanks to your incredible generosity we're getting very close to that target of $6000 and I'm starting to imagine where I'll be going to find these women in far flung corners of NZ, to make sure this collection truly reflects the diversity of women in their 60s in Aotearoa. 

    But Boosted is an all or nothing deal and if the target isn't reached all the money goes back to the donors. I know you've done so much already but if you are able to help out with this last push by sharing this link with others that would be wonderful.  

    https://www.boosted.org.nz/projects/hitch-a-ride-with-visible-women-at-60-plus

    If you're on Facebook you might have seen the post yesterday about the Russian book with 6 pages devoted to this project. Could've knocked me over with a feather:)

    3 days to go and target in sight - only $1,775 to go
  • 5 Days to GO! 54% there!

    26 MONTHS AGO

    Oh my gosh. Doing this campaign is really hard for me. I'm independent to a fault and asking for financial support doesn't rest easily with me. But with your support I'm gritting my teeth and ploughing on because the feedback I've had tells me this work is important. We must continue to do this as women - keep telling our stories because they are rich and inspiring and motivational.

    Over 70 women have been brave enough to put themselves on the line and share their lives with the world through this project so far. People are loving the recent photos I've been putting up on facebook. But the collection isn't yet complete. And to complete it means I need to travel.  

    So thank you so so much for your generosity to this project. Lets hope we get there in the next 5 days. Just keep telling as many people as you can and if you're on Facebook keep pushing those posts through. 

    5 Days to GO!  54% there!
  • We're 45% there - thanks to you:)

    27 MONTHS AGO

    Hi everyone

    Thanks to your amazing support we're up to 45% of the funds I  need to finish off the project. So looking really hopeful. 

    I've been away up to Auckland and Whangarei photographing another 8 women and getting fantastic feedback over Facebook. Try and have a look if you can. Heres the link   https://www.facebook.com/jennyoconnorphotographer

    It takes a bit of time to get the photos edited but more new photos will be up tomorrow. Here's one of Jean from Whangarei, caught in one of those relaxed moments in a photoshoot when everyone is off their gauard:)

     

     

    We're 45% there - thanks to you:)
  • First week nearly over - 24 days to go!

    27 MONTHS AGO

    Thanks sooooo much for your amazing support to get the Visible Women funding campaign off to such an amazing start with 27% donated in just the first week:) 

    I've just had 4 days in Auckland and added 4 more gorgeous women to the collection. I'll show more of these soon but here's Geri, with wheom I stayed for the last couple of days in Auckland. This photo was taken in her apartment carpark yesterday.  So very exciting. Heading off to Whangarei this afternoon

    First week nearly over - 24 days to go!
  • Another recent 'never before seen' photo

    27 MONTHS AGO

    Hi everyone. I'm so touched by your generosity - thanks so much for getting this campaign off to such an amazing start. I have actually already started building the collection and been beavering away over the last 3 months taking photos of women from around NZ. It's great to be sharing these new photos with you. This is Dewi who now lives in Levin but is from Holland. This is a women who has fought many battles and I think that mix of strength and vulnerability really shows in her photo. I love that 'look' through the mirror. 

    Thanks again - you are amazing. 

    Another recent 'never before seen' photo
  • Raise a glass with Di - new photo never seen before!

    27 MONTHS AGO

    This photo was taken just two weeks ago. Di lives in Te Horo, between Levin and Waikanae. We met up to talk about her photo and she mentioned she has been known to dance on tables at parties - so that was the idea and we went for it. This photo was taken in bar before they opened - we had to work really fast to Tina Turner belting out "You're simply the best". Phew!  And isn't it fantastic! 

    Raise a glass with Di  - new photo never seen before!