The first centenarian (or person over 100) that German photographer Karsten Thormaehlen photographed was his friend’s grandmother in Berlin in 2006.
He said that he was impressed by her presence, her knowledge and liveliness.
Thormaehlen has been taking pictures of centenarians ever since, and he reaches out to senior institutions, local newspapers and tourists offices in the places that he travels.
The photographer said that most centenarians are well known in their communities and his experience in meeting them proves to him that life is worth living.
The Internet also helps him find subjects, and it helps subjects and their families seek him out. For example, he was recently contacted by a Russian lady, who told him about her grandfather, who is still living, who fought in World War 2. Thormaehlen hopes that he can eventually take the man’s portrait and include him in projects in the future.
His current project is entitled Aging Gracefully and is a photography book of the collection of people he has captured on camera.