How Taking 1950s Pin-Up Photos Made Me Love Getting Old

Photo: courtesy of the author / beth sanders
pin-up photo shoot photos courtesy of author

I’m creeping up on 50. It used to be that 50 was the time we transformed into the Crypt Keeper. Now, it simply seems like the beginning of an exciting new chapter. How exciting it is to get older, to have more years to do the things you want and be with the people you love. What a privilege. 

Last week, in celebration of my mid-life marker, I got to be a Bombshell. I’ve always wanted to be a Bombshell and am grateful to chocolate and french bread for making it all possible. Who wants to go through life purposely denying themselves things that they enjoy? Just so they can look 25 for as long as they can? 

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Like a lot of women, I always have my eye on what I consider to be my five extra pounds. I live in Los Angeles, which may explain how I hound those five pounds when they would really like to help fill me out. They keep throwing up their hands and yelling, “Just move to freakin’ Kansas already, because we could use some extra company.” Stinking L.A., man. It’ll mess with your curves.

I’m currently working on a project called Love Your Body Now: Healing Body Image Issues Through Fine Art Nudes.

In a doctor-heal-thyself moment, I flew to Boulder, Colorado to meet with my project partner, photographer Beth Sanders, so she could make me as beautiful as humanly possible, then photograph me for time and all eternity as a 1950s pin-up girl.

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I didn’t know if I could pull it off, but once you’re creeping up on 50 you just say, “If not now? When?” You also begin to quote Risky Business: “What the f*ck! Because 'What the F*ck' brings freedom. Freedom brings opportunity, opportunity makes your future!”

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Beth sent me off to a makeup artist who spackled and painted and glued my face until I looked better than I ever knew I could.

Then it was off to Beth’s studio for my pin-up photo shoot in a barn on a sprawling farm where weddings and such-like events occur where I squeezed into my vintage-inspired swimsuits and midlife crisis red stilettos and struck a pose or two. If this is what a mid-life crisis looks like, then I say that it is fabulous. 

I’m thrilled with the results of my pin-up photo shoot. Being me, I see some flaws, but I also see a lush, laughing, lovely woman enjoying life. And a big part of my big smiles came from posing for a lean, laughing, lovely woman who looked through her approving lens at me and only saw Beauty.

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All photos courtesy of the author

Shannon Bradley-Colleary is a writer of films, books, and several teenaged/young adult journals. She is the author of To The Stars: A Novel.

This article was originally published at Huffington Post. Reprinted with permission from the author.