I didn’t know what to expect.  I mean I photograph seniors…in high school, but never real seniors.  I thought I would have to work a little harder to get her to feel comfortable in front of the camera, I thought I would struggle to get my subject to connect with me.  Oh man, was I wrong.  I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed my time with spunky, spirited, Dorothea L. Eib-Irwin.

I am so honored and excited to share my experience with you today.

After setting Dorothea up in some beautiful window light, I settled in to get to know this spirited woman.  In just a few short minutes of conversation I learned that Dorothea had one true passion, her husband George F. Irwin, Jr.  She spent her life loving him, sharing a life, and enjoying every minute they had together.  They had 73 glorious years of marriage, when George passed on at the age of 95.  It’s easy to see that even now, 6 years later, Dorothea still has an emptiness in her heart that will never be filled.  I’m pretty sure she misses him with every breath.   They didn’t just share a love, they also shared a career.  The both worked for Stanley, working their way to the top.  George was to be honored for his 74th year with the company when he passed.  Living together, raising a family together, and working together, if  soul mates are possible these two would fit the bill.

After the shoot was over, Dorethea talked about how they traveled the world together.  She also emphasized how important it is to find joy in every day in every way.  She wanted me to know that happiness is the key to a long life.  I couldn’t agree more, and I aspire to be just as spunky, outgoing, and smart witted at Dorothea when I’m 97.

We all know what magazine cover beauty is, but I struggled to find the words to describe Dorothea’s beauty.  So I went to Webster, and was pleasantly surprised to find they had two very different definitions.


  1. A combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, esp. the sight.
  2. A combination of qualities that pleases the intellect or moral sense.  aka Dorothea

Dorothea and her daughter Prudence live together.  Two strong women in one house means they love to fight, but at the end of the day they take care of one another.  However, I suspect if you asked them they would argue that they take care of the other.

THIS is Dorothea’s smile.  I can see right into her soul through her eyes.  We were having a conversation and I had just enough time to pull my camera up and snap this picture.

Some shoots are life changing.

Most of our photos are taken when we are young, growing and changing.  We want to capture the changes, stop them in time.  But at some point we stop taking picture of ourselves and our loved ones.  I think it’s the wrinkles, but the real changes, the ones that matter, the ones that have more to do with the spirit inside, take place later in life.  I think we need to spend more time capturing those changes, even with the wrinkles.