03/25/2015 02:19 EDT | Updated 05/25/2015 05:59 EDT

Emma Kelly photo exhibit explores wrinkles as art

A fine art student in Victoria, B.C. has taken extreme close-ups of wrinkles to explore the abstract beauty of aging.

Emma Kelly, a student at the Vancouver Island School of Art, is currently showing her exhibit, Life Lined Series, at the Monterey Recreation Centre in Victoria, B.C.

Kelly says she was inspired to create the project one day when she was waiting at a bus stop with a 93 year-old woman.

"While we were talking I became fascinated by the skin on her right cheek," said Kelly. "It made me start to think about lines and how there may be a metaphor for aging and wisdom on people's faces."

To create the exhibit, Kelly recruited 20 models, ages 65 to 93, and took very close-up photos of their faces. She then enlarged the images, and in some case applied a colour processing. 

Kelly says some of the models were very enthusiastic about having the photos taken, whereas others were more reticent but wanted to help.

"It's absolutely fascinating to hear what people's views are about how they look," said Kelly.

"My perception of it is that people feel largely positive about their wrinkles, that's it's part of life, it's nothing to worry about, it's just who they are."

As a middle-aged woman herself, Kelly says she learned a lot. She started the project not feeling particularly happy about the way she looks.

"Part of the idea of creating art is you can put a lot of your feelings into your work," says Kelly. "I found it to be absolutely cathartic."

To listen to the full interview click on the audio labelled: Local photographer makes art out of wrinkles