The flowers in my 'Withering Rose' series are past their prime. They are at serious risk of the trash bin. In our youth-obsessed society, most images of aging or decay are met with revulsion. But if one’s gaze lingers, without judgment, then the simple beauty of the aging process might be seen. This correlates directly with how we treat those around us who are aged. As a society, we push them to the side, ignore and otherwise disregard their place in our social order. That (dis)placement is not simply disregarding the sum of their contributions to our world, but even what they mean to us now. We’d just rather not think about it. But what does it mean to lose one’s youth? Or even one’s life? There is beauty in the natural process of aging. We turn away from images of decay because we don’t wish to see them; we don’t wish to think of it. But as each day passes, we are getting closer to sitting in that chair, or lying in that bed.
MORE ABOUT JAY
Jay Ruland is a photographer living and working in the Grass Valley / Nevada City area. He received his BFA in Photography from San Jose State University in 2010, and is currently pursuing his MFA at SJSU. His large-scale photographic images create a close-up examination of things often overlooked, including discarded objects and a variety of botanical and natural subjects, particularly those in decay. His images explore aspects of the aging process and the beauty within.
In 2015, at the De Young Museum, he took Best of Show for photography in the exhibit Divergence. Also in 2015, he was one of three winners in the student photography division in Creative Quarterly’s winter addition. He has exhibited his work at various galleries in San Jose, Santa Cruz, Los Gatos, Grass Valley, Nevada City, at Anne and Mark’s Art Party, and previously at San Jose City Hall.