This artist photographed women, ages 1 to 100, and here’s what she learned

What started as a really cool idea for a class project, became a huge and majorly impressive undertaking. As part of her senior art show at Eastern Mennonite University, Molly Kraybill put together “One Hundred” — a remarkably inspiring and sensitive photo series that explores what women are like at every stage of life.

For three months, she photographed one woman to represent each age, from 1 to 100. She asked each woman she photographed the same question: “What do you like about your age?” The responses varied, from learning how to write their names to enjoying post-retirement freedom.

“The result was a colorful visual journey through the wisdom, pain, and joy that aging brings,” Molly wrote in a description of the project. “From braces to wrinkles, from the simple delights of being a kindergartner to the losses of older age, I have found that age is something to be celebrated, embraced, and most importantly nothing to be ashamed of.”

As a woman, aging is far too seldom seen as something to embrace. Yes, we may become more respected as we age and often feel that we’re taken more seriously, but at the same time, we’re judged for where we’re at numerically. Even our relationship status is tied up in this mess of stigmas. Basically being a woman at every age comes with its own set of issues and rewards — which Molly really awesomely captured in her photos.

But let’s rewind to the start of the project, and the challenge of finding women of every age to participate. “I found my subjects through family, school, and friend connections,” she told HelloGiggles. “I have a handful of family members who have connections to nursing homes and that is where I found my older subjects.”

“At some point I still was missing certain ages so I sent an email out to the residents of my neighborhood,” she continued. “That was a really cool experience to photograph total strangers who had been living just down the road from me my whole life. Some of them had amazing stories. I was touched by how much these women believed in the project to help out even though we had never met.”

The end result was a showing at her school’s gallery — the images aren’t available in full online anywhere and if you don’t live in Pennsylvania, you might not get a comprehensive glimpse of her work. But we’re psyched to show a brief preview of her work here. They’re not just gorgeous images, they’re a celebration. Party on.

You can learn more about the One Hundred project here.

[Images via the artist]