Racing Age is a documentary photography project about masters track & field athletes of retirement age and older. This is a Kickstarter campaign to publish a hardcover art book of this long-term project.
I have photographed this project intermittently since 2007 at regional, national and world meets in the United States and Europe. This summer, I am completing this body of work: I documented the National Senior Games in Minneapolis and my article and photo essay on the World Masters Championships in Lyon, France was published in The New York Times.
Now, I need your help to finish the project and bring this book project to life.
Racing Age es un proyecto de fotografía documental ilustrando maestros de pista y campo de edad de retiro y mayor. Esto es una campaña Kickstarter para publicar un libro de arte cerca de este largo proyecto.
He fotografiado este proyecto intermitentemente desde el año 2007 en carreras regiónales, nacionales y mundiales en los Estados Unidos y en Europa. Este verano estoy completando este cuerpo de trabajo: Documente los Juegos Nacionales de Mayores en Minneapolis y mi articulo y ensayo fotográfico sobre el Campeonato de Maestros Mundiales en Lyon, Francia fue publicado en el periódico New York Times.
Ahora, necesito su ayuda para completar el proyecto y traer este libro a la luz.
These athletes have a lot to tell us about what getting old could mean and look like. People around the world are living longer, and in the coming years, the older population of the world will increase dramatically.
When I look at these older athletes, I don’t see them as representing past: They represent our future.
Track & field is a unique sport in that it measures very concrete human abilities: How fast can you run? How far can you throw? How high or far can you jump? Master’s track & field athletes are setting records that literally redefine the abilities of the aging human body.
I come to this project from a personal place. As a kid, I always loved to run:
In college, I was a heptathlete (multi-event athlete) and a captain of the women’s track team at the University of Pennsylvania:
(both awesome rule of thirds photos by my dad, Jacques Jimenez)
In 2007, 10 years after my last track meet, I was working as a freelance photojournalist in New York City (I am a regular contributor to The New York Times, a contract photographer with Getty Images and do independent documentary projects). I learned about a masters meet happening in Kentucky from a photo subject. I borrowed a friend’s Hasselblad, threw a tent in the trunk of the car and drove down to check it out. What I saw has fascinated me ever since:
These people defy our visual stereotypes. They are not just cute, or vulnerable, or weak: They are fierce and competitive. They are athletes, doing things with their older bodies previously thought unimagineable. It can actually be a bit scary to watch. It’s not what you are you used to seeing an older person do.
Masters meets, usually intended for athletes ages 35 and up, are broken down into categories of five-year increments so that people compete against others of their similar age. Pretty quickly, I decided to focus on “retirement age” athletes in their 60s and up. Their bodies were so fascinating- the way they looked in the track outfits, the way they moved. I had only known this sport as a 20 year old, in the peak shape of my life.
What motivates older athletes? How do they measure success and what is their motivation to compete?
I am shooting this project on a fully manual Hasselblad 503cx on Kodak black & white medium format Kodak film. There is no internal light meter, no auto focus, just 12 frames per roll of film. The method of shooting is slow and deliberate- metaphorically I am giving myself a slower and older body to work with, just like the athletes.
This campaign offers the book and fine-art prints of the project as rewards. Work prints are only available to Kickstarter supports, and limited-edition fine art prints are timeless works of art produced at the highest quality. The project won the 2014 Fence Jury Prize at the Photoville Festival in Brooklyn, and had a solo exhibit at United Photo Industries in DUMBO. In summer 2015, Racing Age was chosen for exhibition at the Photo Romania festival in Cluj Napoco, Romania and at the Pa-Ta-Ta Festival in Granada, Spain.
The funds from this Kickstarter campaign will be used to:
1. Finish the Racing Age book
This includes editing existing work, making high resolution drum scans and fine art prints, preparing the black & white images for press, creating the book’s graphic design in collaboration with the brilliant Ashima Jain of Smartypants, transcribing interviews and writing.
2. Print the Racing Age book
You, as the Kickstarter community, will be crowd-funding the book itself. Your pledges will go towards the printing and shipping of the book. This book may be published with a publisher (if I find the right partner to work with!), or it may be self-published. Either way, your pledges will go towards making the most beautiful, highest quality book possible.
(*This is my second book project. I successfully crowd-funded and self-published my first book project, Welcome Home: Building the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival in 2009.)
Postcards and work print-only rewards will ship in December 2015. Book rewards and accompanying work and fine-art prints will be shipped by May of 2016.
The Racing Age book, which will feature photographs and text about the athletes, will be a way to keep their stories – and powerful spirits – alive. Thank you for your support and I look forward to creating something beautiful together.
Racing Age project featured in the press/media:
American Photo. Jeanette Moses. “Angela Jimenez’ Photos of Elderly Athletes Compel Viewers to Rethink What it Means to Grow Old.” September 8, 2015.
HP/De Tijd. Rick Stet. “Photo Series: The Elderly Athletes Defy the Laws Sport.” August 19, 2015.
New York Times Sports/LENS Blog. Angela Jimenez “Racing a Clock While Scoffing at Time.” August 13, 2015.
Policy Mic. Marcie Bianco. “10 Inspirational Photos Prove You Can Be an Athlete at Any Age.” February 6, 2015.
Senior Planet. Linda Abbit “On the Intensity of Older Athletes.” January 15, 2015.
Runner’s World. Liam Boylan-Pett. “Photo Exhibit Features Racers 70 and Older.” January 13, 2015.
The New Yorker: Photo Booth. Thea Traff. “Racing Age.” January 5, 2015.
L’oiel de la Fotografie. Laurence Cornet. Angela Jimenez, Racing Age, at United Photo Industries. December 11, 2014.
World Photography Organisation Magazine. Kaley Sweeney. “The Fence: Angela Jimenez.” October 12, 2014.
The Independent New Review. Adam Jacques. “World Masters Athletics Championships: Meet the 95-year-olds still picking up medals.” Sept 21, 2014.
Petapixel. DL Cade. “‘Racing Age’ Photo Series Smashes Frailty Stereotypes Surrounding Old Age.” July 17, 2014.
Slate Behold: The Photo Blog. David Rosenberg. “The Fierce Competition of Senior Athletes” July 16, 2014.
Refinery 29. Hayley MacMillan, “These Athletic Seniors Can Run, Jump and Throw Better Than You” July 12, 2014.
Huffington Post. Yagana Shah. “Senior Athletes Defy Stereotypes of Aging in Stunning Photos” July 11, 2014.
Feature Shoot. Kayla Chobotiuk. “Inspiring Portraits of Athletes Competing at Track and Field Events” July 7, 2014.
Newsweek/Daily Beast. “Racing Age.” Portfolio of images with introduction. November 11, 2010.