Studio@620 The Studio@620

Oldest Old

Photography and Text by John Pendygraft

John Pendygraft looks at life after 80 through portraits focusing on lives well lived. The photos will be on display at Studio@620 in St. Petersburg from November 17 through December 5. There will be an opening reception on Tuesday, November 17 from 6:30 - 9:00 P.M.

Oldest Old

Within 10 years, and for the first time in human history, the old will outnumber the young. Soon there will be more people 65 and older in the world than there are children under 5. Locally, we are already there. The “oldest old,” people 80 and older, are the fastest growing portion of the world’s population. Their ranks are projected to increase more than 230 percent by 2040. According to the Census Bureau’s 2008 population estimates, Pinellas has more than three times as many old as young; Hillsborough has nearly twice as many. But what does all that mean? The alarm has sounded over pensions, social security and dependency ratios, not to mention pressures on young families. But it is also a milestone in human evolution. We are eating better, we have more wealth, and we can access better medicine, education, and social services than any other time in human history. And what is the point of all these advances, if not to enjoy them as long as we can?


















Gussie Shelby, 100, St. Petersburg

Gussie Shelby sums up her life, 100 years and three months, from her bible. Psalm 90, verse 4. For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by. She remembers her hundred years like one long summer day. An airplane flies overhead, on final approach to Albert Whitted. She closes her eyes and tells the about the first time she saw an airplane, in 1916. She ran under it to catch it if it fell. “Now I get tired of hearing them all day long. Coming, going, coming, going.” She moved to south St. Petersburg in 1918 as a skinny 9-year-old black girl. “When I was a little girl you didn’t go past 15th going south ... because white people lived all further back there.” She pauses and thinks a thought that makes her eyes harden. “And if you wanted water they had a place for the black people to drink water and a place for the white people to drink water. Don’t care how you spent money there, you couldn’t drink water from the white place.” It seems like such a short time ago, like a day that has just gone by. Now there’s a black man in the White House. “I never did think that would happen,” she says. “You know where that come from?” She points toward heaven. “That came from God. That didn’t come from people. God put that into people. God did that.” SEE A VIDEO OF GUSSIE SHELBY, SUMMING UP HER LIFE OF 100 YEARS AND THREE MONTHS

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Surroundings by James Zambon

A second exhibit of photography "Surroundings" by James Zambon will display simultaneously in the G. David and Astrid Ellis gallery at The Studio@620.  This collection of foreign landscape images will be on display through December 5, 2009.  Says the photographer of his work "I use photography to document how I see the world.  There are interesting and beautiful things to appreciate in everything and everyone -- sometimes more interesting than beautiful".  Come see for yourself during the opening reception, Tuesday November 17 from 6:30 - 9:30 pm.

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