These Portraits Of A 97-Year-Old Woman At Home Will Make You Rethink Growing Old Alone

Seeing a person in their home — their chair choice, the books on their shelves, the brand of dish soap on their kitchen countertop — can allow for a level of intimacy we take for granted in this age of instant image sharing. Photographer Candace Karch's striking portraits of 97-year-old artist Marie Ulmer at home don't allow for that, conveying the apparent mundanity of everyday life with a humor and grace doubly rich for the slowness and simplicity at the core of each image.
Ulmer lived and created in her studio as a commercial illustrator for the Free Library of Philadelphia for 35 years. Her works cover all mediums, but Karch was struck by Ulmer's self-portraits — she was often her own best, readily available model. Over the span of five years, Karch captured the rhythm of Ulmer's daily habits, from hanging the laundry to washing the dishes.
Although Ulmer recently moved to an assisted living facility, Karch still visits her weekly, documenting her life for a book that will include candid shots of the spirited artist, as well as her early work. Ahead, the two friends share their thoughts on the curious lifestyle of working and living in the same space.