ANDERSON — Sitting in a vintage chair in an old sewing shop downtown Alexandria she’s converted to her photography studio, Lisa Hobbs talks about why her latest project consumes her.
“When people look at the elderly, they see somebody old, they’re not worth anything,” she said as tears welled in her eyes and she choked up. “When I look at them I see someone who brought us here today and I don’t care how many wrinkles they have. I think every part of them is beautiful.”
Hobbs has thought of taking pictures of retirement homes before, but she woke up one morning about a month ago with an idea that she knew she had to see into fruition.
Hobbs wants to photograph 10 elderly people, five men and five women, and pair their photo with a written story from their lives for her project “Through Their Eyes.” The framed pieces will then be displayed in an art show at Alexandria Care Center. If the pieces sell, all of the money will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.
The photographer has already had a test run. After conceiving the idea, she met with 92-year-old Wally VanErman last month over breakfast, where she asked him to tell her a story.
After throwing his hands up in the air to say he didn’t have story, Hobbs said, he started to tell his personal account of an iconic American tale: the Battle of Iwo Jima.
Originally deployed for a 72-hour operation, he ended up on a six-week mission, he told Hobbs. The men in the service called him Doc because he took care of them, and he did that during the battle even after he took a mortar to the knee. He put his kneecap back on and helped his men survive.