Brazilian identical twin sisters Maria Pignaton Pontin and Paulina Pignaton Pandolfi have seen and experienced a lot throughout their lives, including their 100th birthday.
The twins are from Ibiraçu, in the north of Espírito Santo, Brazil. Maria currently lives in the municipality of Aracruz, and Paulina in João Neiva. They celebrated their 100th birthday on May 24, but prior to the celebration, a Brazilian photographer offered them a free photo session, which they gladly accepted.
“I had never met anyone 100-years-old, let alone twins! I got in touch with their family and offered the photo session as a gift,” photographer Camila Lima told Vintage News. Lima saw a reportage on the twin sisters on a local TV station in Brazil and she thought, “this is a moment that should be remembered for eternity.” Lima was so amazed by the story that she decided to offer the twin sisters a free photo session as a gift.
Lima said that she was in love with the elderly and for about a year she had been taking photos of elderly people. “I photograph many young couples, so my love for photographing old couples is a way to inspire my young couples,” she added.
She had been photographing elderly people of all ages for a while, but she says that Maria and Paulina “were the only ones who had no limitations of any kind” and never complained about being tired.
It was a professional photo session and the twin sisters put on beautiful dresses, did their hair and put on makeup. “We were all excited,” the photographer said.
Lima described the experience as relaxed, saying that the sisters were “excited and happy.”
She added that they were willing to do anything she asked them to do and said that they loved the finished photo shoot.
The sisters have large families and celebrated their birthday at home with many of their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
According to Lima, Paulina Pignaton Pandolfi has 6 children, 19 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren.
Maria Pignaton Pontin has 5 children, 12 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
The photographer said that Paulina had already experienced numerous health problems, including cancer of the intestine and two heart attacks. The doctors had little hope that she would be able to overcome her health problems, but Dona Paulina recovered from them all.
Unlike Dona Paulina, her sister, Dona Maria, has never had health problems. Maria’s son, Carlos Pontim, described his mother as a very cheerful person and told Gazeta Online that up to this day his mother and his aunt remain active and healthy.
“When one of them is having problems, the other one despairs, however, when they’re good they can’t agree on anything, but still, they can’t live without each other,” Lima told the Vintage News.
Although they were born on May 24, the party was scheduled four days earlier. Over 100 people appeared at their birthday party as their family is quite large.
Maria and Paulina are still lucid and spent hours walking throughout the neighborhood. Carlos told Gazeta Online that his mother recently went to a wedding and stayed at the party until 2 o’clock in the morning. He hopes that the rest of the family would be as vital as they are.
However, Maria and Paulina are not the oldest female twins in the world and according to Guinness World Records, Raymonde Saumade and Lucienne Grare (née Wattebled), who were born on September 23, 1912, in France, are officially the oldest. In September 2017 they will celebrate their 105th birthday.
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Photographer Camila Lima said that her project with the elderly would not end with the twin sisters and that she would continue photographing elderly people because that was her passion.