Going Gray in LA
Stories of Aging Along Broadway
Los Angeles is getting older. By 2030, one in five Angelenos will be over 65 years of age. Following Broadway through the heart of downtown Los Angeles, journalist Ruxandra Guidi and photographer Roberto “Bear” Guerra have explored what it looks, sounds, and feels like to be aging in our city. These are some of the stories they encountered.
The rapid increase of older adults in Los Angeles will change the city. There will be even greater pressure on an already strained health care system, on social security, affordable housing, and other senior services. More families will live in multi-generational homes, and more individuals will be working well past the traditional retirement age.
But these challenges also represent new opportunities for our community. How will we address them? And how might they change our preconceived notions of old age? With more of us living longer and healthier lives, we have the chance as a society to redefine conventional ideas of what our “golden years” can and should be; to deter-mine what really matters as we grow old in this big city.
For “Going Gray in LA: Stories of Aging Along Broadway,” Guidi and Guerra spent a year exploring the lives of a diverse population of older adults. Their stories, featured on the radio, the web, and in public spaces such as this one, highlight citizens that often feel neglected and invisible.
“Going Gray in LA” was produced during 2016-2017 in collaboration with KCRW Public Radio, and with support from The Eisner Foundation. The radio stories, photo essays, and additional content can be found on the project website: kcrw.com/categories/going-gray-in-la.
Ruxandra Guidi, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, tells stories through radio, photography, multimedia, the printed word, and public installations and events. She has worked as a reporter, editor, and producer for NPR’s Latino USA, the BBC’s The World, the Fronteras Desk, and covered KPCC Public Radio’s Immigration and Emerging Communities beat in Los Angeles. She is currently Assistant Professor of Practice at University of Arizona’s School of Journalism.
Bear Guerra is a photographer whose work explores the human impact of globalization, development, and social and environmental justice issues in communities typically underrepresented in the media. His images, photo essays, and multimedia stories have been published by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Le Monde, the BBC, NPR, and many others; and have been exhibited widely. Bear has been a finalist for a National Magazine Award in Photojournalism; and was a 2013-14 Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado.
Ruxandra and Bear collaborate on extended empathetic and culturally sensitive documentary storytelling projects under the name Fonografia Collective. Recent projects have included the year-long multimedia storytelling series Going Gray in LA: Stories of Aging along Broadway (2016-17) with public radio station KCRW in Los Angeles; South of Fletcher: Stories from the Bowtie (2017-18), a storytelling project centered around a post-industrial site and future park in a gentrifying area along the Los Angeles River produced in collaboration with local arts organization, Clockshop; and A People’s Map: Stories from the East San Gabriel Valley (2018-19) — an oral history and photographic portrait project commissioned by the LA County Department of Regional Planning.
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