One of the first things I noticed when I started spending time in England, age 14, was how different old ladies look compared to the classical Italian grandmother: bright colored clothes, umbrella at the ready, funny hats and, most importantly, an attitude. To become one of them became my lifelong aspiration.
Alas, the little old grannie is becoming a thing of the past: now she will most likely still shove you aside when boarding the bus but her attire might not be as eclectic as it used to be. Such a shame.
To document this charming dying breed, English fashion photographer Tim Walker set out to photograph “the little old ladies down the lane, and the result can be seen in two sweet books titled “The Granny AlphabetThe Granny Alphabet”: The first volume is photographs and simple verses by Kit Hesketh Harvey while its companion second volume is drawings of imagined old dames.
“Old age brings back this childlike clarity of vision, and so children and the elderly have an agreement, a bond, united by both a sense of being out of time and by the brilliantly reckless lack of responsibility that bookends adulthood and allows them to see things as they really are.”
“This is why I’ve always loved the very old and the very young, whether in age or spirit, and why I’ve taken the photographs for this book – part photographic love letter to the elderly and part documentation of the dying breed of little old ladies who live down the lane.