For Bradley Williams, a certified geriatric pharmacist with an interest in photography, there was only one way to retire: with a gallery showing of his photographic portraits of older adults.

Williams, professor of clinical pharmacy and clinical gerontology, combined his two passions by showcasing 15 of his photos at a gallery exhibition titled “It’s Just a Number” at the USC School of Pharmacy on September 25.

The project began several years ago, when the Office of the Provost’s Faculty Early Retirement Program offered a Capstone Grant Award to active faculty members who had signed a retirement agreement before July 2014.

Originally planning on publishing a book of photography as the project, Williams shifted focus to creating a photography portfolio, and in 2017, enrolled in an advanced photography class. “I mostly enjoyed taking pictures of natural landscapes in the past, but my photography teacher challenged me to turn my camera toward people,” Williams said.

Bradley Williams’ photographic portfolio captures older adults living full lives in both everyday and unexpected ways. (Photo/Linda Wang)

The result was a poignant, candid photo collection of older adults playing guitar, surfing, running, and more.

“I wanted to capture older adults doing everyday things,” Williams said. “Some are what you’d expect, some are unexpected.”

One of Williams’ favorite images from the photo collection is of a skateboarder who is part of a multi-age group that regularly rides together along El Toro Road in Orange County. Some in the group are in their 20s, others are in their 50s and 60s.

The photo, along with many others in the collection, echoes an attitude Williams has carried throughout his career: Age is just a number.

During his 39-year career at USC, Bradley Williams, PharmD, directed the PharmD/MS in Gerontology joint degree program, the nation’s first such joint degree, offered in partnership with the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. He ran a geriatrics clinical clerkship, taught a course in geriatric pharmacy practice and served as Director of the Education and Information Core of the USC Alzheimer Disease Research Center. In his clinical practice, he was a member of the interprofessional Geriatric Assessment Program (GAP) at USC, which brings together health professionals across various disciplines to provide a comprehensive assessment of older adults with, or at risk for, cognitive impairment.

The gallery exhibition was made possible through the USC Office of the Provost’s Early Retirement Program. Images from the event were available for purchase, with proceeds supporting the USC School of Pharmacy PharmD/MS in Gerontology joint degree scholarship.

— Linda Wang

Bradley Williams’ photo shows a skateboarder riding down El Toro Road in Orange County, California.