Los Angeles: Quiet Heroes ~ Over 80

The Quiet Heroes~Over Eighty series began in 2005, with each image made after hours of in-depth interviews with my subjects. It reflects a body of work that offers a deeply personal and poignant look at the process of aging, the experience of leaving homes behind, the scars of war and conflict, the beauty of tradition, and the challenges of adjusting to and surviving in a rapidly changing world.

Imagine for a moment that you had the respected elders of nearly every tribe and culture in the world -- those who had drunk longest and most deeply from life -- gathered together, ready to share their knowledge with you. What would you ask?

Maria "Chayita" Lopez, Mexico
Mohammad M. Pourkarim, Iran
Yangzom Khimgyapa, Tibet
J. Michael Hagopian, Armenia

This is the record of that proverbial meeting. Through my series of intimate black-and-white portraits, Quiet Heroes ~ Over Eighty paints a poignant picture of of the human condition, weaving together the stories and hard-won wisdom of 70 remarkable older individuals, each representing their unique country and culture, all over eighty years of age, all immigrants to Los Angeles--from the great-grandchildren of black slaves and rice farmers, from Korea to Indian field-hands, Ethiopian priests, Muslim intellectuals, a witness to the dropping of the nuclear bomb over Hiroshima, to the last living survivor to the Armenian Genocide.

Why, I asked each of them, is the world filled with such trouble and torment? Where are we heading? Is there room for hope? How should one live? Why is Peace so elusive?

The result is a diverse and deeply personal meditation on issues of fear and faith, war and exile, culture and custom, survival and peace, and a testimony to the beauty and dignity of aging. A unique marriage of imagery and word -- and an unparalleled opportunity to learn from those who have come before -- Quiet Heroes~Over Eighty forges a rare bond between these elders and the viewer, encouraging each of us to examine our own stories, our lives, our values and our place in the world.