Photographer Records How Her Friends Look Like 17 Years Apart, Shows How Different People Age
“Time is relative.” This is something we hear over and over and over again, and while I will be the first person to tell you that time doesn’t matter in the short term, time does matter in the grand scheme of things. Time ages. It decays. It molds. It changes. Over the course of two years, five years, ten years and 50 years, people change. And maybe not necessarily in terms of looks (though most people do), but in personality and in spirit as well.
For example, just ten years ago, I was wrapping up my first semester of college. I was homesick, unsure of myself, lazy (I slept through a 4 PM class!) and stupid (I drank too much and partied too hard). I cared too much about what other people thought of me and not enough about what I thought of myself. However, I wasn’t all bad. I worked out. I was social. I studied hard and knew what I wanted. I knew that the future was ahead of me, and though I very much looked forward to it, I felt okay being lazy and stupid because I knew that one day, I wouldn’t have the chance to be those things. I took advantage of my youth and I’m not sorry for it.
Four years later, I was a little less lazy, a little less stupid and a bit jaded. I finished college but had no real job prospects. I was living back at home with my parents. I was still partying too hard, and I still cared too much about other peoples’ opinions. I was scared about what the future might hold (would I be living with my parents forever?). I was impatient. I sooo badly wanted my life to begin. And I was antsy. I wanted to do this, no that, no this again. I could not make up my mind.
Today, I have two children, 1 and 2-years-old. I freelance for a living. I live in the middle of nowhere in a farmhouse that was built in 1882. We don’t have cable and we heat our house with a wood burner. We get our water from a well on our property (no, we don’t use a bucket to pull it up–we’re not living in the stone ages). And I am so incredibly happy, content, relaxed and at ease with myself–all those things I never was when I was living in San Francisco or San Diego. I still like to have fun, but I know when to stop. I’m still sociable, but I’m okay being in my own company. I don’t sleep past 9 am anymore (though that is less of a choice than a necessity), and the only peoples’ opinions I care about are those that matter: my husband’s, my sons’ and Trump’s (haha, just kidding on that last part).
I look forward to the future, to traveling with my husband, to going back to school for my masters, but I am in no rush to get there.
What would a picture of me from 2007 reveal? A too-skinny young girl with fear, uncertainty, hope and determination in her eyes who made very bad fashion choices. And a picture of me today? A young mom who looks relaxed and happiest in a sundress (and who still makes questionable fashion choices from time to time). I would look the same yet very different.
Photographer Josephine Sittenfeld took photos of her college classmates 17 years ago. Going through them, she realized that all those people she once knew would be vastly different than the people in the photos. So she reached out to her former classmates and asked them to recreate the photos. And the results are stunning.
Below are Jesephine’s attempt to capture the passage of time in photograph. Take a look: