Zed Nelson is a London-based photographer who embarked on a photographic journey through time to take the same picture of the same family in the same conditions over the course of 22 years.
The project, entitled “The Family,” is a time capsule that encompasses the growth of his friend’s family through two decades on the same day each year. Even though the poses and the faces are the same, the images ask the question of how each member grew over that span.
Click next to delve deeper into the family’s history as told by individual, yet similar shots.
#12 Setting Up The Shots
When Nelson’s friend’s family agreed to participate in the project, the wife was already 9-months pregnant. On the same day each year, the family met with Nelson who set up the same lighting conditions with the same backdrop. This caused no distractions, just the focus on the growth of each family member.
#11 The Purpose Of The Shots
The selection of the shots allowed Nelson to give his viewers an amazing and specific walkthrough of his friend’s family’s life. It allows viewers to focus on the individuals rather than space around them. We are able to focus on his subjects rather than the world they occupy.
#10 Four Years Into The Project
In this photo, the child is already four years old. We can see how age is beginning to define the new parents as well as how they have grown tremendously. The image sheds some light into how much parenting has affected them. Go to slide #9 to see how two years look.
#9 Child At Age 6
Two years later and their kid is already showing so much personality. Both parents look happy and the family is obviously showing how well they have bonded in just six short years of parenthood. Move to slide #8 to see how they progress and grow over the next couple of years.
#8 We Change As We Grow
One thing we will never know is exactly how many shots Nelson took to get the perfect image. He could have taken thousands of photos to get one perfect picture, and of course, they may not define how the family actually is. Notice the changes in hairstyles and facial expressions.
#7 The New Millennium
A few years have gone by and the family has kept going with their annual photographic tradition. He is around twelve-years-old at this point, and we can really notice the difference in clothing style for everyone. A couple of more years in the next slide really make a difference.
#6 Boy Is Becoming A Man
It is now 2005, and already the son has developed into a strapping young man. Every father remembers the day his son surpassed him in height, and now this father will be able to remember for a lifetime with a beautiful photographic journey to tell him exactly when it happened.
#5 Seventeen Years Into The Project
In 2007, the son is now 17 years old and has grown his hair out long in the typical fashion of kids during that time. Mom and dad have certainly shown their age, and look like they are somewhat worn out. It could be the specific photo, but they don’t look too thrilled.
#4 They Have Raised A Man
The son is now 18 years old and could legally stop participating in this annual project if he wanted to. Obviously, he hasn’t, which shows the degree of closeness this family has exhibited over the years. If he is willing to show up in a photo with them, they must be pretty cool.
#3 The Difference A Year Makes
One year after the photo in slide #4, the son is already looking more mature and distinguished than before. Another thing we want to point out is how much taller than his parents he has become. Click to slide #2 to see how much like father like son he will become.
#2 Twenty-One Years In
Can you believe it? The parents and son can now legally have a drink together. The boy was already showing similar traits to his father, but the glasses really tie the whole thing together. Click over to slide #1 to see how much 22 years can make a real difference.
#1. The End Of “The Family”
The photography journey has now culminated into a 22-year project of social and familial awareness. The family has obviously gone through many ups and downs, days of joyfulness and days full of tragedy, but one thing remains the same: They are still a family and probably closer than they ever have been before.
After viewing the last 12 photos, think back to your family photos and how much you and your loved ones have changed over a 22-year period. Even though you haven’t taken the same lengths to depict the family in the same setting, do you think this project helped bring them closer?
It would be amazing to see if Nelson was able to keep going with the project for the next 22 years. Or if the son would continue the tradition when he starts a family. The next time your mom asks for a family photo, don’t take it for granted.