Isadora Kosofsky

Isadora Kosofsky is a documentary photographer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. She takes an immersive approach to photojournalism, working with her subjects for years at a time. She received the 2012 Inge Morath Award from the Magnum Foundation and was a participant in the 2014 Joop Swart Masterclass of World Press Photo. Her work has received distinctions from Flash Forward Magenta Foundation, Ian Parry Foundation, Social Documentary Network, IAFOR, Women in Photography International, Prix de la Photographie Paris, The New York Photo Festival and a nomination for Reportage Photography of the Year at the 2016 LEAD Awards. Isadora’s images have been featured in The London Sunday Times Magazine, Slate, The Washington Post, TIME, Le Monde, VICE, The New Yorker, Mashable, The Huffington Post and many others. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and can be found in Family Photography Now (Thames and Hudson, 2016), a photographic anthology, and in Public Private Portraiture from Mossless. She was a speaker at the 2016 National Geographic Photography Seminar. Today we share her series, The Three.

The Three 

Jeanie, age 81, Will, 84, and Adina, 90 are bound by their relationship. “The Three Senior Love Triangle” is a long-term photo documentary that shadows three aged individuals in a romantic conflict. They view their connection as a shield from the loneliness of aging. Even though Jeanie, Will and Adina’s relationship began at a senior care facility in Los Angeles, California, the outside world is more like home. For them, the care center is a reminder of solitude. Attempting to find solace within themselves, they seek escape with each other. In describing their bond, Will shares, “We live above the law. Not outside the law, but above the law. We are not outlaws.”

Through their relationship, Jean, Will and Adina challenge socio-cultural norms projected about the elderly. Jeanie, reflecting on her life, confides, “I do not wish to assume all the garments of maturity.” Jeanie seeks empowerment, reiterating, “I want to be free.” For these individuals, aging is paradoxically a form of both loss and liberation. Attempting to find solace within themselves, they seek escape with each other. When I am part of the lives of those Jeanie, Will and Adina, I feel I am engaging in questionable activity, in something different. Each day we searched for a new “adventure,” a purpose. I felt the comfort of being part of the group. But the thrill revealed sadness. I, too, experienced the remoteness that one can feel even when part of the group, or pair. I felt the ache that dwelled just below the surface of their romanticism.

I met Jeanie, Will and Adina at a retirement home in East Hollywood where I was documenting a woman who lived on the 4th floor. One night, I watched Jeanie, Will and Adina walk through the gates; Will had his arm around Adina as Jeanie walked behind them. I related to Jeanie’s separation from them. I identified with the sense that the balance between them could not be achieved. As Jeanie used to say, “To share Will is a thorn in your side. A relationship between a man and a woman is private. It is a couple. Not a trio.”

To view more of Isadora’s work, please visit her website.