Rae, 80, In her bedroom
I loved my girlfriend very much. We were true soul mates. I am very proud that I was with her for 43 years. The first evening I met Rabbie, I got up to make a drink and I asked her: "Can I make one for you too?" And she said: "No, but you can come over and kiss me." And damn it, if I didn’t!
Tree in the desert
This July was a tough month for me. There was our anniversary, Rabbie’s birthday, and her day of death.
Red is my favourite colour. She hated red, I didn’t ask for the red and they brought her ashes to me like that. After that, I went and bought a red car.
Rae and Rabbie
Rabbie’s death was for me the most devastating thing in my life. I thought I would never get over it. I miss her so very much. When I die, our ashes will be mixed together and spread in the canyon. The pain is slowly getting better, though. I never thought it would. You tend to idealise people who are dead. Now there is no Saint Rabbie anymore but Saint Rae. I have to look after myself better.
Dennis, 76, In his room
I have my own house, where I live half of the year. Sometimes I don’t talk for a week to anybody there. In the summer I rent a room in a gay retirement home. I enjoy meeting people of my kind.
I was married for thirty years. I loved my wife very much. If she hadn’t died, we would be still together. After her death I was devastated.
Dennis with his flight costume
The thing I regret most is that I didn’t become an astronaut and never went into space.
Dennis in stockings
The first time I dressed as a girl, I was eight years old.
Dennis´ wall decoration
I don’t want to be a woman. I am happy the way I am. I just enjoy the kick.
Dennis dressed up
I feel that I am transforming from a caterpillar into a butterfly. Sometimes I go out like this. If people don’t like it, it is their problem.
All images from If you are lucky, you get old © Freya Najade
"In the project If you are lucky, you get old I capture encounters with the elderly passing by and I tell stories of those I spent time with. To my surprise, the old people I met were not just proud of their age and the fact that they made it that far in life, they were also still falling in love and breaking up. They were overcoming their lifetime partner’s death, living out their erotic fantasies or dealing with the loss of their sexual desire. Talking to them showed that inner growth is ever lasting and that humans above the age of seventy continue to love, suffer, long, dream and have sexual feelings."
Freya Najade was born in Germany in 1977. After studying in Bremen and San Francisco, she moved to London, where she currently lives and works. In December 2009she graduated with Distinction from the University of the Arts London (London College of Communication) after completing a Masters in Documentary Photography. Her work was selected for the 2009 AOP Student Awards and she has had honourable mention in the IPA Awards (2008, 2009).