In his sentimental series, Faces of Century, Opava-based photographer Jan Langer visually presents the inevitable changes that accompany aging. With 100-year-old Czechs as his muses, Langer explores the effects of time through a collection of then-and-now photos.
Faces of Century is composed of several pairs of photographs. Each coupled combination depicts the same person as a young adult and as a centenarian. To adequately showcase the changes evident in each individual's appearance, the subjects recreate the poses present in the older photographs. By providing these side-by-side comparisons, Langer allows viewers to discern the visual similarities and differences between the photos. “Time is shrinking,” Langer comments, “as are the faces of the elders.”
In addition to exhibiting aging's physical effects, Langer also delves into the psychological side of getting older. Each photo is accompanied by a brief biography of the subject, listing his or her former occupation, current place of residence, hobbies, status of his or her family relationship, an unforgettable memory, and his or her wishes. By asking each individual questions related to these topics, he is able to comprehend how the inner-workings of their minds have changed. Similarly, this supplementary text provides a more in-depth and intimate portrait of each individual.
“I wondered what changes and what remains on a human face and in a human mind in such a long time, and in such a short while in relative terms,” the photographer ponders. “I wondered how much loneliness of the old age weighs, and what memories stay in 100-year-old mind.”
You can see the entire series and read about each individual on Langer' website.