Karla Courtney: Photos of Old People


This week marked the launch of PhotosOfOldPeople.com – a very unique and moving site created by friend, Karla Courtney. Creative, smart and funny – I was eager to catch up with her about her brand new site.

When did you start taking photos of old people?

I tend to focus on people when I take photos anyways so I do have a decent back catalogue. It was on a recent trip to Buenos Aires that my husband and I decided to make a bit of a project of it.

How do old people react when you approach them?

We generally get really good reactions; a lot of people seem surprised that we would want to photograph them and really happy to chat. I never just take photos and run away; I always ask, have a chat, tell them a bit about what I am doing (though I don’t often say “hey, you’re old, I am taking photos for photosofoldpeople.com”) find out a bit about them, and if we are travelling, get some advice about their favourite spots and check them out.

Memorable moments: At a barber’s shop the owner directed an entire photo shoot of himself which was pretty funny

Ended up having lunch with one man; he didn’t speak English and my Spanish is rubbish but somehow found out that his wife had died of diabetes and got some advice on the best suburbs in Buenos Aires to visit and what the area was like 50 years ago

Met this one lovely couple that walked us to one of their favourite restaurants. We had one of our most memorable, and delicious, meals in Buenos Aires there (their photo is coming up soon).

What is about old people that captures you?

I just think they look cool and are cool. You have to admire people who have lived decades longer than you and are still out there kickin’ it.

Who takes the photos?

Right now me, with a few cameo appearances by my husband Scott Drummond and some coming up from our buddy Andy Miller. Am happy to take submissions :o)

What does the future hold?

More photos of old people, becoming old myself. I am also starting to knit (yes knit) some of the faces for a ‘knitted portraits’ project. Will give you some updates when those are done.

Jye Smith is currently the Digital Strategist for Weber Shandwick Australia. Ranked in B&Ts 30 Under 30, he's a regular keynote speaker and workshop facilitator who specialises in digital strategy, social media marketing, and change management.

There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Oscar at 10:06 am

    This is a fantastic site, my partner loves it too. Everyone is presently so youth obsessed, its forgotten how important a pre-digital perspective is. I get the impression that many consider those that can’t use the internet to be obsolete.

    Its telling that marketing covets the younger demographics. Perhaps its pointless marketing to the elderly because they’re beyond that bollox!

  2. Gavin Heaton at 1:05 pm

    Great interview, Jye. And great site, Karla. Just pleased that my photo hasn’t turned up on there just yet ;)

  3. Jye Author at 1:24 pm

    Haha I don’t think so, Gavin. Although, maybe we could start something super niche.. hehehe