Older women disrobe… and run!


I admire the confidence that allows mature models to disrobe before a group of people…

So wrote Meri Collier in the email she sent accompanying some of her beautiful, loose, spontaneous drawings of older women, like this one: 


Mature bodies are particularly challenging because they’re usually hidden, not displayed publicly. The visual vocabulary is not so familiar. My challenge is to look, see and believe what is in front of me. I derive pleasure as I explore and learn.

She hadn’t intended her words for inclusion in the book, but I found her observations a compelling complement to the images themselves, three of which I’m delighted to feature in the collection. The drawings’ economic lines speak volumes, evoking many of the same insights and reflections that appear in other essays.

Today, Meri — pictured here reading from her observations at Ben McNally’s bookstore in Toronto — sent me another intriguing email, this one introducing me to Olga Kotelko.

A 91-year-old Saskatchewan track star, who began her athletic career at the age of 77, Olga has since earned more than 600 – that’s right, 600 – gold medals. She explains her success this way:

It takes discipline, but I train a lot, I like doing it, it’s good for my body. I enjoy the camaraderie on the field. I love competing. I love to win.

Olga is a walking, talking (running, jumping, throwing…) advertisement for the “use it or lose it” philosophy. And even if you have no desire to run track yourself, she’s an inspiration.


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