‘40 over 40 Bombshell series′ photo exhibit inspires women


Lona Palmero always wanted to be a mermaid and when a friend told her about a photo shoot with endless costumes, including a mermaid, she knew she had to be a part of it.

Palmero is one of the women featured in Penny Fraser’s “40 over 40 Bombshell Series” on display through July 29 at ArtServe’s Gallery 130, 1350 E. Sunrise Blvd., in Fort Lauderdale. The exhibit celebrates women in their 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond by sharing their portraits, stories and messages, Fraser said.

An opening reception will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. July 9 at the gallery.

“It was amazing from beginning to end, and an opportunity to feel beautiful,” said Palmero, who had four friends also do the photo shoot.

Fraser first got the idea for the “40 over 40 Bombshell Series” during COVID, while she was working from home as an attorney, but has since retired to do photography full time.

“I’m not married and have no kids, so I was really alone, and I wasn’t getting dressed up, so I started feeling a little low. I decided to one day set up my camera on a tripod, get all glammed up in a beautiful dress, do my hair and my makeup and take a selfie. I started sharing them and I noticed immediately it boosted my confidence, my mood. I started getting inspired,” she said.

Every week, Fraser, a Lauderdale-by-the-Sea resident, couldn’t wait for her “selfie Sunday” to take all different types of pictures and when the lockdown was over, she started offering these same photo shoots on the beach, she said.

“All the women told me they felt beautiful, they felt inspired. Then I thought to myself, women over 40 go through so many changes. I’m in my 50s so I know from personal experience. My clients told me the same thing so I wanted to focus this experience for 40 women who are over 40 years old to help empower them, inspire them, give them that extra dose of confidence, and have gorgeous images they can treasure forever,” she said.

Palmero calls her experience with the photo shoot “empowering,” helping her overcome some challenging times.

(Penny Fraser Photography/Courtesy)

“Celebrating my scuba diving certification and a double knee replacement that immediately followed the shoot. During my difficult and painful recovery, my photos lifted my spirit and confidence knowing that soon I would be back to my mermaid life,” Palmero said.

In addition to their images, Fraser wanted to include a message or quote from the women so “no matter what age they are, it would help empower and inspire them.

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“It also shows women over 40 are beautiful, relevant, worthy and they have a story to tell. These are beautiful, wise women and they give something the younger ladies can look to, aspire to, to get excited about aging, and those already in that age group can get that extra uplift to make them feel beautiful and share in their experience,” Fraser said.

Palmero’s message to other women was “protect your peace at all cost. Step out of your comfort zone and face your fears. Growth takes place when you are challenged, not when you are comfortable.”

This is Fraser’s first time exhibiting in a solo show and her first time exhibiting at ArtServe, in which she is a member of and takes classes, she said.

Her goal is to “keep doing this so I can raise societal awareness about women in aging and also give this luxury magazine lifestyle experience to even more ladies.”

This is the first of three series and Fraser plans to also have an event for the second series, although she’s not sure of the location yet. She’s currently booking for the third series.

She’s also having a giveaway for a photo session valued at $2,000, which will take place in August. The winner must be a member of her VIP Facebook group. Sign up at facebook.com/groups/bombshellsbypennyfraserphotography to become a member.

For information or to book a photo shoot, visit pennyfraserphotography.com.

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