Tonaki Tsuru was born on October 1, 1913, in Nanjo, Japan. A widow for more than 50 years, she lives on Okinawa, one of a group of islands in the East China Sea that is reputed for having the most centenarians. She raised four children and worked in a fabric factory. She loves growing sweet potatoes and Okinawan folk music.
She is just one of the 52 subjects in German photographer Karsten Thormaehlen’s new book Ageing Gracefully. “My ultimate passion is photographing old people,” he writes in the introduction. “Very old people.”
We associate beauty with youth. But maybe that’s because we aren’t looking hard enough. Thormaehlen’s work, the photographer says, is itself a search for beauty, “perhaps the purest kind – a beauty that knows no expiration date”.
And so his images are full of lines and also full of life.
Ageing Gracefully by Karsten Thormaehlen is published by Chronicle Books, priced £19.99