Photographer Honors Women Over 40 In New Series

By Nancy Burns-Fusaro

CHARLESTOWN — Charlestown photographer Amy Kristin Short intends to make a statement about women and aging.

Sitting inside Amy Kristin Photography, her boutique photography studio on Old Post Road, tucked away on the first floor of one of Charlestown’s oldest houses, Short said she wanted to do something meaningful to mark Women’s History Month and something memorable and meaningful to honor women.

Then inspiration hit — a photo series featuring candid portraits of 40 women all 40 years of age and older.

“I am a woman over 40,” said Short, a Richmond native who attended Richmond Elementary School and graduated from Chariho High School in 1994. “And I feel strongly that women, as we age, gain beauty and wisdom but can often be overlooked by society.

“I wanted to do something to empower women,” she added. “Women who are older have so much value and so much to give to the rest of us.”

By photographing the 40 women, she said, she plans to capture their beauty on film, and help to tell their stories. Eventually, she thinks, she’ll compile the photographs into a book or magazine.

“I think it can be something potentially really powerful,” said Short, who is in the early stages of her project, has five sessions already booked and is actively seeking other candidates for the series. “I think it can be a cool experiment.

“I have no set time really, to finish,” Short said. “My goal is to finish by the end of the year.”

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Kristen Lombari of South Kingstown, a Gateway Healthcare professional, has known Short since her 13-year-old daughter was a 6 years old.

“Amy’s been taking pictures of my daughter ever since,” Lombari said. “She’s really good. She’s the real deal. Amy takes time to get to know her subjects, and she captures them perfectly. … She captures their spirits. I’ve never seen anything like it really. … It’s like something out of a fairy tale.”

But as much as she trusts Short and appreciates her artistry, Lombari said she had to think twice before agreeing to be in Short’s series of women over 40.

“She’s probably the only person I’d do this for,” she said. “I’ll admit I’m a little nervous, but you’ve got to break out of your comfort zone now and then, and I know Amy and I trust her.

“She’s always saying that we need to have something to hold on to, something to pass on to our children,” added Lombari. “She says it’s important to have tangible memories and she’s right.”

Lombari will be the first subject in Short’s 40 women over 40 series.

“It’s such a great idea,” Lombari said.

“It’s kind of an experiment, a cool experiment,” said Short. “And I’ll get to meet other women who are my age.”

Short said she’ll even get to the women’s houses and help them choose what to wear for the photo shoots.

“I’ll even go into their closets,” she said with a laugh, “and I’ll help them with hair and makeup, too”

Age is a funny thing, she said, and too often older women are hesitant to get in front of a camera.

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“In my mind, I’m still 17,” she said. “No one tells you that you’ll still feel like a kid.”

Short has been taking photos since she was a youngster, but it wasn’t until the birth of her oldest nephew in 2007 that she really fell in love with photographing people, she said.

“That was 15 years ago,” she said with a laugh. “I followed him around like I was a paparazzi and began documenting his little moments, and everything grew from there.”

She has spent the time since taking photos of newborns, family photos, head shots and branding photos.

“I think what makes me happiest is when people see their photos for the first time and they like them,” she said. “It never gets old.”

In addition to photographing children and families, she also offers individual and group training and mentorships, both in person and online, for beginner and intermediate photographers, ranging from technical to editing to managing the business end of things.

“The media and society often make women think that we lose value as we age,” she said, “but the opposite is true. Women who are over 40 have stories to tell and lessons to teach and are beautiful and wise. These photos will be a legacy.

“So if you are 40 or 54 or 75 or 102, or anything in between there, call me so you can be one of the forty,” Short said in her invitation. “I can’t wait to meet you. It’s so important to celebrate who you are and where you’ve come from. … These photos can prove that.”

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 Short invites women over 40 to give her a call at 401-749-6934 or email info@amykristin.com.

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