KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City-area photographer is working to capture the essence of women who are over 40 years old.
With every portrait, photographer Keyonna Pitchford wants to highlight who her clients are: beautiful, wise and resilient.
“To me, every wrinkle tells a story, every scar tells a story, every subtle tell — the way you move your hands, the way you move your face and your body — like all of that is very poetic to me,” Pitchford said.
For Women’s History Month, Pitchford, owner of Copper Key Studios, launched “40 Over 40," her portrait project that features 40 women from the community who are over 40 years old.
Pitchford says 40-year-old women have typically gone through multiple transitions in life by that age and often feel forgotten by society. Thus, Pitchford desires to make them feel seen.
“Oh, I've always been at the bottom of my list. I’ve come up, I’ve come up, I’ve come up, but I’ve never been at the top of my list of things to do,” said Debra Doyle, who was featured in the project.
Doyle says the power of her portrait has helped her come back to herself.
“At this age, it’s okay for me to release this woman, this power and not be afraid or be concerned about what people think," Doyle said. "What’s important is that I’m happy, no I take that back, that I’m joyous. Made me think about who I am, what I needed and it was a good experience.”
Latosha Morris thought her life would be figured out by her 40s. But in hindsight, she says checking off boxes is less important than feeling herself.
“It is a confidence [thing,] right? Like I am who I am, I know who I am, I feel good about who I am and I feel good about where I'm at,” Morris said. “It feels great. It’s so freeing, right? To know that you can do that, not that you can, you should.”
Pitchford says she wants all women in her life to know they can always rewrite their story at any time.
“Some of my best clients are the women that are over 40," Pitchford said. "And I kept seeing that year, after year, after year, and I was just like there’s something to this. We can all learn something from this."
All 40 portraits will be showcased in a gallery this November.
Anyone hoping to be a part of the project can find more information on the studio's website.