Last year photographer Emily Stein published a series of photos focused on Nora Marie Harper, a retired architect in her mid 70s with a sad but fascinating life story. Honest, vivid and insightful, the shots told the true story of Nora’s persona.
Released today is the next stage in that project, a film by Emily and her sister Alice Stein with Blink Art called I Am Nora, which premiered on Nowness as part of its Age Appropriate article series about embracing later years.
Showing Nora glamming up, exercising and posing like a natural, the film is a different take on Nora’s life. Though it momentarily hints at her sad past, it’s more focused on her no-holds-barred approach to life and self-image. Paired with cheeky, cheerful music, and filmed with a dreamy soft focus and pastel tints, the short gives a delightful snapshot of retiree living.
“Life has not been easy but I decided to be at peace with my inner child and youth,” she says in the film. “Sadly [a] growing number of women suffer loss of confidence, identity and self-worth once retired. I decided never to give up. To stay resilient, witty, charming, receptive. And ladies, do not panic. Beauty is not synonymous with youth.”
Emily says she Nora’s unique character just had to be shown. “She’s so full of energy and zest for life, it seemed a shame not to translate this into film. She was keen to do it – there are things she wants to say, she’s a passionate and intelligent woman.”
“Older women can tend to be under represented,” Alice continues, “so it’s important to do so, but we think it’s important to empower all women, no matter what their age.”
As for working together as sisters, Emily and Alice seem to be a dream team. “We love working together as we have very similar aesthetics and get excited by similar projects. We have to be careful that we both have quite separate roles when directing and producing a project, so we don’t end up annoying each other or stepping on each others toes! But we respect and admire each other a lot so it is pretty great all in all.”