Wang Wah Po, 104 years old when this photo was taken, emigrated from China to the United States when he was in his late 80s and became a citizen in 1997, at the age of 103. A volunteer from the On Lok senior housing facility where Po lives is pushing Po's wheelchair across a San Francisco street so he can attend a men's luncheon at a local restaurant.
"This image shows caregiving and volunteerism among our elderly," explains New Jersey–based photojournalist Ed Kashi, who used a Leica M6 camera for this shot. "Here is a man in his 80s who came once a week to take Wang Wah Po to lunch. What an incredibly beautiful act." Po passed away in 2000.
The photograph is one of many in Kashi's book Aging in America: The Years Ahead, along with essays and interviews by his wife, filmmaker Julie Winokur. American Photo magazine named it one of 2003's best photo books.
Today, some 20 million Americans are raising children while also caring for aging parents. Kashi and Winokur depicted their own experience as dual caregivers in the short film Sandwich Generation, which documents their move across the country with two children and a business to care for Winokur's 83-year-old father, Herbie, who had dementia.
Kashi has authored four books, including Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta, published this year, and Three, coming out in 2009. A native of New York City, he has taught photography in many countries and captured award-winning images in locales spanning the globe for National Geographic, the New York Times Magazine, Time, and Newsweek.
For more information about or to order a DVD of Sandwich Generation, go to http://mediastorm.org/0009.htm. For more on Kashi, see www.edkashi.com.
Alison Bulman, senior editorial coordinator