Cambridge resident showcases photos of senior citizens in Central Sq.

By Jeanne Amy
Cambridge —

The thought of posing for a yearbook photo may conjure up some unflattering self-images, but Susan Young of Antrim Street in Inman Square has made over 90 senior citizens very happy by taking their portrait in the past few months.

“Everyone gets their school picture taken starting from a young age and going even through college, and then, there’s nothing,” Young said.

Young’s exhibit of over 50 portraits of Cambridge senior citizens will open at the Clear Conscience Café in Central Square on Monday, July 20 with a reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The photos will remain on display for about a month.

“I take a lot of pictures of my parents, but not everyone has that. I thought it would be cool to take photos of the seniors and they could give them to their families if they wanted,” Young, 42, said about the project. Young’s mother will be coming from Richmond, Va. to see the exhibit.

Young spent Friday afternoons at the Cambridge Citywide Senior Center in Central Square and sat with each senior she photographed for about 20 minutes learning about their lives.

“A lot of these people have lived in Cambridge their whole lives. Some of them are 90-years-old, so you can only imagine the changes they’ve seen in Central Square,” Young said. “When I thought about doing this project, I thought it could be depressing or sad, but it wasn’t at all. These people were totally inspiring and engaging and engaged in life.”

Young has taken photography classes at Harvard and the New England School of Photography in the past few years. She works part-time for Harvard Business School’s alumni communications group, and enjoys taking on community-based photography projects in her spare time. Her photographs of Central Square business owners were recently on exhibit at Clear Conscience Café.

This senior citizen project has shed a new light on Young’s life.

“I love Cambridge and when I moved here I knew this was going to be a great place, but this project made me feel more a part of it and made me realize how important where I live is.”

Susan Youngs Cambridge Senior Center Portraits: C3 Exhibit July 20-Aug 20, 2009. View them at her web site

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