Gallery showcases Rachel’s forte for feel-good portraits  

Inspirational photographs that celebrate the strength, beauty and wisdom of women over 40 are to feature in an upcoming exhibition.

Forty life-affirming portraits by Fife’s Rachel Watson will feature in a show filled with joy, laughter and plenty of pizazz.

For the Saline-based photographer – better known by her social media name Rachel ShootSweet – 40 over 40 is the perfect opportunity to show that age is only a number.

“So often,” says Rachel, “society would have women believe they are less valuable as they age but those I’ve photographed are, without exception, smart, brave and beautiful.”

Rachel has spent six months photographing the women – either in the studio, or at outdoor locations including beaches, woodlands and gardens. Participants’ ages range from 40 to 97.

Among them are two women who have undergone operations to treat breast cancer. Both women, says Rachel, wanted to love and embrace their bodies and how they have changed.

Photo sessions have enabled all the sitters to share conversations about their lives – their hopes and dreams, how they have changed and what they would tell their younger selves.

They have also provided an opportunity for the woman to be, in Rachel’s words, ‘the most epic version of themselves’. Although, understandably, the photo sessions can be a little daunting to start with, the overall experience is always transformational, Rachel adds.

“What’s considered beautiful changes from country to country, decade to decade and person to person,” says Rachel, “so why even try to conform? Women don’t need to be anyone else’s idea of beauty – this is about celebrating these women for who they are.”

40 over 40 will take place in the FifeSpace Gallery at Rothes Halls, Glenrothes, from 31 May until 20 August. Admission is free.