The Other Side of 60 . . . and iAARP?

© Eddie Tapp/Jane Conner Ziser
Being on the other side of 60 is not so bad. Been there for almost two years. Sometimes, it's actually cool, especially when younger dudes like Trey Ratcliff call you the "Godfather of the Photo Industry."

With my 62nd birthday coming up next month, I've been thinking about the "Other Side of 60," which is the title of a song my brother, Bob, wrote. Please take a listen - and then come back.

At this stage of the game (well past half time), some of my friends are talking about retiring. 

Me? Never. In fact, I have never been busier and more exacted about photography . . . and life. So excited, in fact, that I think I need to start iAARP: International Association of Adventurous and Rockin' Photographers.

I think photography keeps one young - and young at heart. I also think keeping up with technology keeps one young, which is why I keep developing apps - or should I say why I work with talented app developers who develop my apps with me.

I still feel the same as when I was at Woodstock in 1969. 
That's me with the fro on the hood of the car.
My friend and fellow Canon Explorer of Light Eddie Tapp, who created the opening image for this post with Jane Conner Ziser,  agrees with me that the other side of 60 can actually be kinda cool:  "They say life starts at 50, and you really start to enjoy it at 60. I have to say that I agree with that. They also say that your eye sight is the third thing to go, your memory is second, and right at the moment I don't remember what the first one is, but I do remember that I fell in love with photography when I was 7 years old. My dad took me to see the movie, South Pacific which preceded a Wind Jammer, Fighter Jet, Roller Coaster you're in the seat kind of movie, what we would consider iMax today. It took me a few years to realize what I had fallen in love.with but today that love is far more ingrained. 

"A quote from Ansel Adams… 'In my mind's eye, I visualize how a particular sight and feeling will appear on a print. If it excites me, there is a good chance it will make a good photograph. It is an intuitive sense, an ability that comes from a lot of practice.'

"Tomorrow will bring much more to explore and create… and I will continue to practice."

© Parish Kohanim
My friend Parish Kohanim, also a Canon Explorer of Light, agrees: "I am thankful for the extraordinary journey that I have been able to take through life and photography, enabling and expanding my visionto all beauty and life. I continue in my commitment to continue, enjoy life and take photos that resonate beauty."

© Alex Morley
My friend Alex Morley, who is co-leading our Oregon Coast Photo Caravan later this year, also agrees: "Rick, it's amazing that any photographer these days would say we've learned all.  I'm 60, soon to be 61 years old, and I cannot find enough time to explore all I want to learn. And it just keeps getting more and more interesting!"

Traveling and photographing is still my passion. 
I can rest when I'm dead. © Rick Sammon
Click here to see me backing up my brother Bob.

Click here for more thoughts on the other side of 60.

Please leave your comments here in the Comments section if you have some thoughts on being over 60.

Here's a closing thought for the younger photographers who are reading this blog post:

You are now where I once was. I am now where you one day will be.

Explore the light,

P.S. Here are the words to Bob's song. He's a poet, too.

The Other Side of 60
© 2008 Bob Sammon, All Rights Reserved

From the other side of 60
20 Don't look too bad
Thinking back to younger days
and all the friends we had.
Singing, playing, loving,
Testing our new wings.
Taking reckless chances
on damn near anything.
From the other side of 60
30 looked like it should.
That's when I married her
and life ahead looked good.
Sure, there were some trade offs.
Things settled down too much.
But kids and work were all we had
and slowly we lost touch.

         And you never see it coming
         No matter how you try
         To gaze into the future
         And let imagination fly
         There's always something coming
         You can't anticipate.
         So take a breath and hold it in
         And learn to laugh at fate.

From the other side of 60
40 was much the same.
Days turned into endless days.
But no one bore the blame.
And when she got real restless
She just got up and left.
The kids and me just sat there,
Stunned and left adrift.


From the other side of 60
Fifty was a blur.
Kids had grown, gone on their own
And I never heard from her.
Some things sure looked different
And some were just the same.
But somewhere deep down in my soul
was that ever burning flame.


So from this side of 60
It's looking good again.
All the pain we suffered through
has vanished with the wind.
There's music, friends and family
to fill up each new day.
And every step, each gain and loss
Was a price I gladly paid.