In 1991, photographer Zed Nelson asked his friend and his friend’s pregnant wife if he could document the family in a portrait. The couple agreed and, since then, Nelson has continued to photograph the trio on the same day each year, in front of the same backdrop and with the same lighting in this amazing series simply called The Family.
By maintaining a consistent setting, Nelson creates a dialogue about the changing time and ages, with no outside distractions. In one quick scroll through the extensive collection of black and white photographs, viewers can witness the family rapidly growing and aging across the years. The intriguing project captures more than two decades of fashion, hairstyles, and changing relationships right before our eyes. The young baby becomes a grown adult while the fresh new parents gradually age into an older couple.
“The body language fascinates me, between the growing boy and his parents. At first the son stays close to his mother, then he gains independence, and then increasingly bonds with and even mimics his father. These aren’t quirks of the photographic moment, but cycles of the aging process, clearly played out in the contact sheets,” explains Nelson.