Twins Celebrate 100th Birthday With Special Photoshoot
There are some things in the world that just simply deserve more attention. Even though life expectancy continues to expand, it’s still incredible when anyone lives into the triple digits. On the opposite end of life, giving birth to twins is also amazing, especially considering the odds are only 3 in 100. Interestingly enough, between 1980 and 2009, the birth rate for twins rose by about 76%. If you combine being twins and living past 99, then you get the two very special women featured in this article.
Maria Pignaton Pontin and Paulina Pignaton, a pair of twins from Brazil, recently turned 100 years old. To celebrate their centennial birthday, they co-starred in their very own photoshoot. This came about after a local news station reported on the upcoming milestone, which caught the attention of a photographer from São Paulo, Brazil. Camila Lima had experience photographing older people, so when she saw the twins on television, she knew she had to reach out. Read ahead to learn about these amazing twins and see their awesome pictures…
Love At First Sight
Nowadays, everyone thinks they’re a model, with endless social media accounts depicting the lives of hundreds of millions of people all over the world. But there’s often something missing. Whether it’s the setting, the camera techniques, or the subject(s), it’s hard to compete with the quality of a professional photoshoot. The collection of pictures of the Pignaton twins captures not only their unique and beautiful connection, but also the talent of the woman behind the camera.
Camila said on Facebook that when she saw the twins on TV, “I was in love!” She knew she wanted to be a part of their lives and help them celebrate their centennial, so she offered them an epic photo shoot in honor of this monumental occasion. “I had never met anyone 100 years old, let alone twins!” Camila told Good Housekeeping. “I got in touch with their family and offered the photo shoot as a gift.” Maria and Paulina readily agreed.
Hair and Makeup
The twins were thrilled to be offered such a special gift, and knew they had to take advantage of the awesome opportunity. After the plans were made, everyone involved met up and prepared. “We were all excited, and they put on beautiful dresses, did their hair and came to the capital to take the pictures,” Camila explained. And the twins did more than just their hair, they went all out…
Knowing this was a one-of-a-kind experience, the twins primped and prepared with the help of professional makeup artists and hair stylists making sure everything was perfect before they even stepped in front of the camera. “They are vain, preoccupied with hair, makeup,” Camila joked when talking to Brazil’s Gazeta Online, before clarifying, “My models are great.” She was so excited to see everything come together and couldn’t wait to take the pictures.
The Pink Bug
One of the many items used in the photoshoot was a beautiful, vintage Volkswagen Beetle painted bright pink, which matched the balloons and some aspects of the twins’ wardrobe. While the cool car has no direct connection to the twins specifically, it works as a great accent to their youthful energy. Camila likes to use it, and other vintage Volkswagens, during a lot of her photoshoots.
A Lifetime Bond
As nice as the car looks in the background, it can’t take attention away from the twins. Maria and Paulina, throughout the entire photoshoot, showcase the amazing bond they’ve had their whole lives. Most people can’t even imagine how it would feel to be a hundred years old, let alone the kind of bond formed when you spend every day of that entire century with the same person.
To fully appreciate the power of these pictures, it’s important to learn about the long lives of these lovely ladies. Maria and Paulina were born in 1917 and grew up in Ibiraçu, Brazil, a municipality in the state of Espírito Santo that has a population of 12,358. They come from a large family, growing up with an unbelievable 16 siblings. Nonetheless, their connection as twins has always been strong.
Growing up in a big family certainly helped the twins learn a lot about life and love. But so much time has passed since they were children, with a lot of changes taking place over the years. Today, only five of Maria and Paulina’s brothers remain. “There are many brothers (there are five more), but we are always together. Are not we born together?” Maria said in an interview.
The twins loved coming from a big family so much that they decided to continue the tradition and create their own extensive families. The sisters have 11 children and 54 grandchildren and great-grandchildren between the two of them. Dividing the numbers up: Paulina has six children, 19 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren, and Maria has five children, 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Still Going Strong
With so many family members coming from the twins, one would think, at this point in their long lives, they’d be slowing down quite a bit. But according to Maria’s son, Carlos Pontin, both of the women are lucid and active. This is even more amazing considering everything they’ve been through over their hundred years. Paulina alone has battled cancer twice and survived two heart-attacks.
Party of the Century
As they approached their amazing centennial celebration, the twins, being in good health and spirits, decided they wanted to use the opportunity to gather as many family members as possible. The best way to do that was by throwing a big party with more than 100 people from their ever-expanding lineage. In addition, a few days before their party, Maria and Paulina received a special early birthday gift.
An Early Birthday Present
That gift was a call from photographer Camila Lima, who, as previously discussed, saw a news story about the twins and was immediately inspired. She was not only touched by their story, Camila is also very familiar with photographing the elderly, as clearly seen in her work. She told ABC News that she regularly takes photos of older couples “as a way to inspire younger couples.”
The Right Woman For The Job
As soon as Camila told the twins how she felt about them, as well as sharing her years of experience and extensive knowledge about these types of photoshoots, the women knew they had to say yes. They agreed and Camila excitedly began preparing for the special day. She had to figure out where she wanted to shoot them, what they should wear, and any other additional enhancements.
Once they all decided on the wardrobe details and locations, Camila wanted to add some final touches. Aside from the aforementioned pink bug and accompanying balloons, the twins can also be seen holding a tiny model of the car in the palms of their hands. Keep reading to see all of the other fun trinkets and decorations used throughout this incredibly special photoshoot.
Outside and In
In the photos, the twins don’t just pose in front of the vintage vehicle, they also get behind the wheel. The women look incredibly natural in the bug, which has the fun, matching balloons tied to the rearview mirrors. Camila made sure to get plenty of shots to showcase all sides of the twins’ personalities and how comfortable they are around each other.
Ups and Downs
In one shot, the women look serious and composed, as if they’re contemplating their many years together on this earth. But in the next photo, they’re smiling and laughing, showing that, even in the middle of an important thought, a wonderful memory can reveal itself. It’s easy to imagine how much fun the photoshoot must’ve been for everyone involved.
A Picture Show
The beauty of having so many pictures, some of which appear to have been taken within seconds of each other, is that when they’re seen in order, as they are displayed in this article, one can truly be transported to the photoshoot. If the pictures are viewed quickly enough, they almost resemble a slow motion video, with the moments moving from one shot to the next.
This is definitely one of the best pictures in the entire collection, which says a lot considering the high quality of each and every photo. There’s just something about this seemingly candid moment, with the twins embracing in the car, that truly speaks to their bond. It’s interesting to think about how this happened: did Camila ask them to hold hands, or did they do it on their own?
Match Made In Heaven
Either way, it’s clear that the photographer and her subjects got along great. The mood captured in the photos couldn’t have possibly been faked, with so much joy and positivity exploding out of every frame. Camila and the twins pairing up was meant to be, and it seems like no one else could’ve done as good of a job showcasing what makes these two so special.
It’s easy to see why Camila likes to use the Volkswagen Beetle in many of her photoshoots, especially when the subjects are older. These’s a youthful energy and fun quality to the bug, also known as The People’s Car. It actually has many nicknames depending on the country. For example, it’s called Coccinelle in France, Maggiolino and Fusca in Italy and Brazil, Vocho in Mexico, Peta (which means turtle) is Bolivia, and Kodok (or frog) on Indonesia.
Black and White
Camila chose to make some of the images black and white, adding another level to the already powerful pictures. After looking at the entire collection, it’s fun to try to think of the reasons she chose the ones she did, as opposed to all the others. What was it about the few shots from which she chose to remove all of the vibrant colors?
As beautiful as the twins looked in their floral dresses, the epic photoshoot called for much more than just one outfit. While they spent much of the day in the more traditional choices, there was also a much funner option to really showcase both sides of their still lively and silly personalities. And this part of the shoot was also the time to introduce the rest of the awesome props.
The much lighter wardrobe change featured some super fancy tutus. After moving to a different location, the twins were draped in full-length tulle skirts, one of them in pink and the other in blue. Topping off the look with flower crowns, Maria and Paulina utilized the new props to show everyone that they can certainly still have fun at 100 years of age.
In the background, viewers can see plenty of flowers, most of which are part of bouquets in white, or off white, vases. If you look closely on the right you can see that one of them is in the shape of rain boots. The props in this pic didn’t stay in these spots, stick around to see how the twins used them…
If the tutus and flower crowns weren’t enough to show how fun the twins still are, Camila even caught them striking hilarious poses like the one seen above. It’s another opportunity to put yourself there on that day, imagining the dialogue between Camila and the twins and how much fun it must’ve been to celebrate such a special day in such a special way.
All of the Props
Aside from all of the beautiful flowers and their creative vases, Camila and the twins utilized all kinds of fun items to enhance the photoshoot. This picture offers a closer look at the rain boot vase, as well as a gorgeous ceramic model. And featured here is The Bible of the Woman of Faith, something that was more than likely provided by the twins themselves.
The Birthday Cakes
As fun as all of the props are, especially their necklaces, pink picnic blanket and matching model car, nothing can compare to the incredible cakes, one of which can be seen above. They not only work as a perfectly topical prop for the centennial photoshoot, but they were probably delicious rewards at the end of the day. Read ahead to see the second, equally as amazing cake.
It could’ve been really cool to see a hundred individual candles lit at once on top of a single cake. But unfortunately, the cake would have been ridiculously big. Even then, it’s probably still pretty dangerous. Instead of baking too much dessert and risking a fire hazard, they decided on three big candles that spell out 100. And the cakes match the dresses, with one pink and the other blue.
Pink and Blue
The twins couldn’t just pose by the cakes, that would be a missed opportunity. The awesome photoshoot wouldn’t have been complete without a classic pic of them with their cakes. Notice the pink cake goes with the pink dress, and the blue cake goes with the blue dress. If the twins didn’t immediately take a bite of their cakes, that might’ve been the biggest missed opportunity of them all.
Faith, or fé in Spanish, is clearly very important to the twins. They can be seen in earlier photos wearing and posing with cross necklaces, sitting next to their Bible, and of course holding the word in their hands. It was important for them to include these items as faith has been such a huge part of their exceptional lives.
Camila was so honored to be a part of the twins’ special day. She said on Facebook, “It is with a heart full of love that I show the result of today’s rehearsal <3 I had the pleasure of photographing the oldest twins of the state and the 2nd of Brazil!" Stick around to the end to see the woman behind the camera...
The Photo Essay
Camila had a lot more to say about her “Photo essay commemorating the 100th anniversary of the twin sisters Paulina and Maria <3" Also on her facebook page, when she released the collection, she said, "When do you see such a victory in life? When do we see twin sisters coming together for the centennial? <3" It's not everyday photographers get the opportunity to capture such a special occasion.
Test of Time
While Camila was thrilled to be behind the camera, the twins were equally excited to be given such a beautiful gift. Camila told ABC News, the sisters were “very happy and satisfied” with the finished photo shoot. Their essences were expertly captured by Camila. In the photos of the twins, you can clearly see the loving bond between Maria and Paulina that has withstood the test of time.
If ten decades of companionship could be summed up in a series of photographs, then those images would surely be Maria and Paulina celebrating their 100th year of life. Camila said, “My girls are awesome in these super fun and colorful pictures <3 I would like to thank my girls for the layout in the photos and I would also like to thank the whole family who helped me with the photos."
A Job Well Done
The day of the photoshoot couldn’t have gone smoother, with effortless transitions between the locations and wardrobe changes. Camila was impressed with the sisters’ stamina during the two-hour shoot. “They did everything I asked and did not complain about tiredness,” she told ABC News. Surely the sisters felt tired at a certain point, but were clearly having so much fun it didn’t matter.
In Good Health
And it wasn’t just their excitement that kept them going through the day. Maria and Paulina’s vitality in front of the camera was a demonstration of their impressive health. “My mother is always cheerful, she is never sick,” Maria’s son Carlos told Gazeta Online. “She is a very healthy person.” It’s rare to make it to 100, especially if you’re a twin. So what’s the secret?
According to the sisters, the secret to a long life is a balanced diet and a healthy amount of faith. And Maria and Paulina plan to enjoy their fruitful lives a while longer. In the Gazeta Online interview, Maria told her sister, “I wish much happiness, many years of life still. Another two, three years.” They’re definitely doing everything they can to make this happen.
Camila couldn’t be happier with the collection’s response. Since it was posted, the album has been liked more than 100,000 times, and the internet has expressed its love for the sisters. Facebook user Michele Santos wrote, “Congratulations to them not only for the anniversary but also for the love between them.” And Sandra Balzer commented, “How beautiful you guys are! It does not look like 100 years, but 70.”
Tv Gazeta ES
To think this all happened after a single, local news story. Camila said, “I saw their report on Tv Gazeta ES and I was in love!” She also promoted the twins’ next appearance, “Today we 3 will be on the Tv Gazette again, watch !! <3" It's so cool that she went from seeing them on TV to being on TV with them.
The Tv Gazeta ES might’ve been the first to do a story on the twins, but they certainly weren’t the last. Since their photoshoot debuted, countless news stations, websites, blogs and social media users have fallen in love with the sisters. In fact, the women were recently asked by The Tribuna newspaper to give advice on how to achieve longevity like theirs.
It has been a year since their centennial photo shoot, and the twins are still going strong at the age of 101. They can be seen above in one of the behind-the-scenes pics from that special day with family members, people of the press, and Camila herself. The sisters have inspired everyone they come in contact with, and with the photoshoot, will continue to do so all over the world.