Gaining value from images of ageing

May 17 2006 by Janet Howd Print This Article

Picasso's passionate moulding of his lover Fernande's face about to go on display at London's Tate Modern makes her look as old as the hills - though she was only 29 when she sat for him in 1909. What was it that he saw in her that caused him to depict her in that way?

Maybe uncovering the layers of character which were to make her fascinating throughout her life was - even at that early stage - more important for their relationship than all her immediate charms.

Conversely, a recent article abut Jeanne Moreau aged 78, indicated that she was still enormously attractive. But had the author not known her previously from film would the comments have been so complimentary? Indeed, would there have been any comments at all?

Reflecting on these two images and reading the recent article on the cost to the economy of unauthorised absence set me thinking.

Perhaps all CVs should contain a portfolio of photos that reflect the trajectory of an applicants life. Organisations would then get a better feel for employee suitability and find that once on the pay role people chosen in this way would not need to feign ill health. Come to think of it, such a portfolio would be of enormous help when we are genuinely sick. Hospitalised people appear more careworn unkempt and unshaven than usual. Photos of how they normally look and behave in the outside world would help staff to take appropriate interest in them.

The boost to patient morale which this interaction would encourage should see health improving more rapidly, beds freed up sooner and work places disrupted less.

That's quite a lot of economic gain from just two aging images.