I am not your mate

I am not your mate is a nigerian slang meaning  I am not your age mate, I am older etc 

I am not your mate is a portrait and  storytelling series focused on senior citizens based in London aged between 60-100 years. The series will showcase the life of  25 senior citizens, their stories, their experiences, dreams and fears. The 25 senior citizens are from different backgrounds and ethnicities. London is a multicultural city and more than 270 nationalities make up the fabric of the city. London is one of the most linguistically diverse city in the world.

I am really passionate about representation and senior citizens are so underestimated! They are full of wisdom, experience and we can learn so much from them. We are missing opportunities to learn from the knowledge gained over decades. Older people are a source of wise words and sage advice on dealing with and enjoying life to its fullest. In the words of Victor Hugo “When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in old age”

The senior citizens  have really helped to shape the project a lot more than I’d initially thought. The overall idea stemmed from me being inspired by senior citizens in society and wanting to hear their various stories whilst capturing them but once I started speaking to the senior citizens  and consulting with them, they introduced new themes that the project now explores such as family, relationships, contentment, loneliness and common medical conditions that affect senior citizens  like dementia, cataracts, osteoporosis, hearing loss etc

As a photo artist, I will photograph the 25 senior citizens like they are. No editing, no retouching, no photoshop, no lightroom, no staged concepts. This is about showing raw and honest emotions.  I truly hope that this project will inspire people to have more conversations with older people, they have a lifetime of experiences to share and an intuitive wisdom. Being Old is the purest and most positive experiences of human existence




  1. January 27, 2019 / 9:19 pm

    What an interesting project, Chin We! I too know that the more mature have a lot of wisdom to impart on society. They are often overlooked and it is wonderful that you have chosen to give them a platform to share their stories.

    I look forward to reading your findings!

    • admin
      May 3, 2019 / 6:22 am

      Thank you so much

  2. January 27, 2019 / 10:42 pm

    This such a fabulous idea for a project. I’ve seen something similar to what you describe done in Canada’s northern communities where the indigenous people live. The elders are respected and protected and their weathered faces reveal the challenges of their lives. I look forward to seeing your project come to fruition.

  3. January 28, 2019 / 5:14 am

    This is a very good idea, I really like the pictures, mature people can give us a lot of learning and wiser thoughts about life.

  4. Emidio Amadebai
    February 5, 2019 / 6:04 pm

    This is an Amazing and inspiring project, congratulations Chinwe! Honestly, I don’t understand why people are becoming less respectful and missing out on learning from their elders. I mean, I have had the chance to meet, play with, and learn from my Great Grandmother, and I feel like it’s a shame my kids won’t have the chance to meet her, as she passed away a few years ago.

  5. Chinelo Orekyeh
    February 8, 2019 / 11:13 am

    Am loving this project. I for one loves the chat and listening to their stories. I had the opportunity of meeting a 97year old woman recently and she’s full of wisdom and knowledge. Am very much intrigued on how they have transit from telegram, world wars, racial segregation and to the digital era. It’s amazing. I cannot wait for this project. Thank you Chin we for giving them a voice, bringing them to this digital era platform where these teens don’t value respect and culture. I hope everyone who sees this can be inspired to talk to their senior citizens neighbour, whether in the bus, or church that has no family and friends around.

    • admin
      May 3, 2019 / 6:27 am

      Thank you so much Chinelo

  6. Andy Braimoh
    February 12, 2019 / 11:20 am

    Interesting project. I quite like how you are extracting nuggets of wisdom from these seniors and present them in a digestible way. That and the photo captures tell a profound story of life. Well done!

    • admin
      May 3, 2019 / 6:26 am

      Thank you so much Andy

  7. Ngozi Oguguah
    February 24, 2019 / 8:48 am

    Interesting project. I look forward to reading their stories. Your photography is on point as usual.

    • admin
      May 3, 2019 / 6:26 am

      Thank you so much Sis

  8. Angela
    February 24, 2019 / 12:36 pm

    Oh wow Chinwe this is an amazing project that i cant wait to dig into. I hope the youth will be able to relate and learn from this as respect for the elders is lacking to an extent. All the best and look forward to seeing your amazing work.

    • admin
      May 3, 2019 / 6:25 am

      Thank you so much Angela

  9. May 2, 2019 / 10:45 pm

    What an interesting and laudable project. Wish my father is still alive.He would have been 98 years this year. He was so full of wise counsel and wisdom.l miss his counsel and his stories of the good old days and times of adversity. Good tidings on this great project and please make a mini documentary of it. May we all hang around long enough to be featured in the future series and let life enrich us with good counsel. Am happy Chinwe.

    • admin
      May 3, 2019 / 6:23 am

      Thank you so much Nonny. Yeah I am planning to make a mini documentary. May your father’s soul continue to rest in perfect peace amen 🙏🏾

  10. May 3, 2019 / 6:08 am

    The words of the elders are like the purest gem stone, it is a coinage of series of advices tested and proved to be trusted over decades !The word they will speak will be banks of knowledge and wisdom. I look forward to reading and seeing their faces. Thank you CHINWE for coming up with this project.

    • admin
      May 3, 2019 / 6:25 am

      Thank you so much Ezigi. The project goes live in August

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