What would life be like if you were suddenly an 80-year-old version of yourself ? That’s the question New York photographer Kyoko Hamada, 42, is trying to answer with her photo series ‘I Used to Be You’. She’s transformed herself into Kikuchiyo-san, living a double life as her 80-year-old alter ego.
Marie Claire finds out more
How did the project come about?
I was volunteering for an agency in New York that serves the elderly who live alone in the city. I was hoping to take portraits of some of them but most of them shied away. I was struck by the curious idea of how I would look at their age. So I met with a theatrical make-up artist and found the perfect wig. When I looked in the mirror there was this old woman staring back at me, partially looking familiar, partially like a complete stranger. I had found the person I wanted to photograph.
How do people treat you differently when you're in character?
When I would pretend to have di culty opening a heavy door or carrying a bag, younger people would often uickly come to help me. It was nice to know that New Yorkers do care, even though we can come across as busy or unhelpful.
How would you describe Kikuchiyo-san as a person? Is she very different to who you are?
She is private yet a little bolder than I am at times. She is opinionated, uietly funny and humble and she en oys her life.
What is the next step for the project?
I m creating a book about the pro ect for release in ecember. ikuchiyo-san may go for another walk around the town, too.
Kyoko Hamada as her 80-year-old alter ego,