I have the pleasure of introducing the lovely Robbie Kaye. Robbie’s love of beauty and ability to find it in the most unusual places;
brings joy and color into our lives. Her Beauty of Wisdom project is a tribute to all of life.
Thank you Robbie for sharing your spirit and joy with us.
1.) In your interview with FabafterFifty you talk about your Beauty of Wisdom project finding you. Can you tell us a little more about what captured your imagination when you took your first photograph in the series?
The first photograph I took was “Jenny” and that orange background was amazing, along with her black turtleneck and face. I went in there thinking I would photograph something humorous. But in fact, I found that these women had more integrity that anyone could imagine. As I continued photographing I realized that what I wanted to convey was just that, their integrity… with themselves and their connection to self-care, and connection with others. And… I was looking in the mirror, if I’m lucky to get to their age and if I do, if I’m lucky enough to be as courageous and wise as they are.
2.) I have never been one to think of myself or anyone else as being a particular age. Yet I do find myself missing the days when people dressed a bit. Do you believe we as a society are
losing something by our casual attitudes toward each other, life and ourselves?
I try not to speak for an entire society; I can only speak for myself. I really feel on the fence about this, because there are days when I would really like to get dressed up and days when I would really like to dress “casually.” I would have to think about the presence of formality that is equated with dressing up… and if that represents a sense of “respect” or not… it’s all so subjective really…and probably somewhat generational… generally speaking.
3.) What have you gained by talking to these women as you were photographing them?
I’ve gained an increase in respect and admiration for them and the road they have paved. They also, keep me connected to the memories of my own grandmothers. They were very special in my life…
4.) You also write music which is heartrending, loving, and tender. Your music covers a gamut of emotions, where do you find your inspiration when writing a piece?
I find my inspiration in so many places… inside myself, in relationship to others,sometimes even politics or social issues…But mostly, I just let whatever inspires me go through me… and out of me musically… hoping to offer relatable music and poetry.
5.) I understand that you studied music; can you tell us where you studied and what is your favorite genre?
I was trained classically on piano then studied music at Georgia College and then jazz at Berklee College of Music in Boston. I concentrated on piano and composition. I don’t really have one favorite genre… I have several… classical, jazz, blues and rock.
6.) Your photography speaks to the soul as if it was visualized music. How do you pick your subjects when not photographing for the Beauty of Wisdom project?
I’d have to say that as with Beauty and Wisdom. The subjects pick me… by intriguing me, sometimes it’s about content, or color, and many times about light… light shining in unexpected places…
7.) You have said that Georgia O’Keefe has been an influence on your work. What aspects of her work inspire yours?
I love her fearlessness in her work, her boldness and grace all at the same time... I love that while she liked to paint big, she was not precocious or ostentatious. She was humble and bold all at once, attributes I aspire to.
8.) Be it in your music, photography or your writing there is a sense of compassion, beauty and joy that shines through. What helps you most to keep this sense of wonder, joy, beauty
and compassion alive?
I suppose it is like a flower that grows out of the mud… and it remembers where it came from and how beautiful it feels to bloom in the sun and above the mud…. So in essence, remembering that I have a choice as to where I want to be helps me... In the mud or in the sun, filled with joy and love and happiness. I practice the law of attraction and read text about it and listen to excerpts of talks about it… I have been blessed with attracting mentors that teach me how to get closer to the mastery of life and being. Beautiful comrades like you, who share the journey with me and remind me of all the joy that is present in life if, I just choose to see it.
9.) Would you tell us about your dreams for the Beauty of Wisdom project?
That’s easy! My dreams for Beauty and Wisdom are that I get to exhibit the photos in museums and galleries, while also having a wonderful book to accompany it. And… perhaps a documentary. Ultimately, that this work will aid in the changing of the perceptions about age and beauty. That it will offer an alternative way of thinking. So that we all can embrace the process with ease and compassion… and at the same time, creating a visibility and honoring for our elders who are already there.
10.) Where would people find your work and learn more about you?
My work can be found at www.robbiekaye.com for Beauty and Wisdom and 2 other series. More work can be found at www.robbiekayegallery.com - that’s where my portraits and landscapes are as well as other work.
Author & Poet
Marta Moran Bishop, is an author and poet. Ms. Bishop writes many books for children as well as for more mature audiences.