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A family’s picture per year, 1991-2009

Oct 16, 2012 By Abraham

Photographer Zed Nelson says of his project “The Family”

[In 1991], the wife of a friend was nine months pregnant, and I had an idea…to photograph them together, on the same day every year, forever…. Every year, at the same time, against the same backdrop, under the same lighting. This way there are no distractions, only the miracle of growth and the changes of time and age.




















I’m not sure whether the “forever” aspect of this project is happening, since the 2009 pic is the last one he’s posted, but regardless, it was a good run.


    1. Martha says:

      Maybe its because of having a teenager, but it strikes me that from the time he became a teenager, they never smiled again.

  1. LissFirefly says:

    Why do these people strike me as the “we don’t own a tv” and “we’re vegan” sort of people?

      1. Me says:

        That is so incredibly rude. Seriously, I do not understand why people like you think comments like this are ok. I know you’re just going to be like “wow overreacting much” but… if you think about it, I’m really not. That’s a horrible thing to say, and you gain nothing by saying it.

        1. You says:

          You’re right. She is smoking hot, and has a sense of fashion that belongs on the Paris runway. Feel better now?

  2. Jane says:

    Mom hasn’t smiled since 2001. :( The parents do look particularly glum in the later years. I wonder if they’re still married.

  3. litzergam says:

    I find it kind of sad to watch the normal weight baby turn into an overweight kid. He looks healthier in the last photo, though, so that’s good.

    1. girlwonder says:

      I don’t think he ever looks unhealthy….there’s a few pictures when he’s younger that he looks a bit chubby, but by the time the 2004 picture comes around, he’s slimmed out a lot.

    2. gt says:

      I don’t think he ever looks particularly over weight. He has that chubby look that boys tend to get right before they hit a growth spurt, but never unhealthy.

  4. MeanKitty says:

    I like 1993 & 1998. If you can’t pick out good shoes… then don’t wear any! (great policy for shoes… bad for clothes)

      1. Commenter says:

        Actually, I agree with janpwhite.

        That show employs hundreds of people in making the production of it.

        Provides a boost in the economy when she spends the $5000 on clothes.

        Gives her a better sense of what style is more up to date while still letting her imprint her own signature on her wardrobe.

        Gives her a complete new wardrobe to highlight her features and give her an uplifting feeling in whatever she chooses to wear from it.

        And I think that it’s funny you (sarcaustic) call janpwhite “an incredibly cranky a**” when he/she could have simply been suggesting that she needs a new wardrobe to uplift her spirits and accentuate the beautiful features of her body. janpwhite didn’t name call or directly insult the person in this picture. However, you (sarcaustic) directly insulted a person you know is going to see that.

        Just a little thought…

  5. Ines says:

    i think they are really cute. quite amazing watching the kid growing into a big boy.
    and it stopped at 2009 maybe that’s when their son went to college so they dont see each other a lot?

  6. heydee says:

    Incredible how the fathers face changes from ’91 to ’92 and from then on he was not as happy… and don’t get me started on what happened after 2002. How unfortunate, and how moving. The mother’s spirit vanished. She’s not the same wacky lady from the previous pics. I hope this is a misrepresantation of their family.

  7. Kira says:

    I dunno, the mom seems pretty fashion current…she’s dead on with current hipsters and I’m pretty sure that the early 90s styles were considered pretty normal for the time period. I actually more enjoy seeing the boy’s very clear phases through puberty that you know a lot of kids went through, trying to look tough or like this or that identity…kinda interesting to see how he goes through it. And the dad, who’s pretty much decided that a button down and pants are all he needs, more power to him :)As for the expressions…wouldn’t doubt that part of the stoicism is intentional.

    1. heather says:

      90’s style of frump yes but not what non-frumpers wore. except for 1996 when she managed to pull it together just once.

  8. Jessica says:

    I started thinking about why they would have stopped taking photos and the first thing that came to mind was that someone died.. and I started tearing up. They’re a nice looking family.

  9. Stephanie says:

    Looks like mum and dad had a rough patch in 95, but was over in 96, however the change in hair style and color, and the (brief) update in fashion leads me to believe that the crisis had only just been averted.. After that she returns to her horrifying style of dress that I’ve seen described here as “hipster”. After a while it seems as though the son and father share the same body language while mum is just an outsider, a third wheel in the picture. Also, it doesn’t look like she smiled in most of these, so maybe she was just a somber individual.

  10. Theresa Rogers says:

    What a wonderful idea! I wish I would of had pictures taken every year as our Family grew! Loved the photos, stop picking on their clothes and commenting on there frame of minds. They are the only ones standing in their shoes! :)

  11. Faaastcash says:

    The idea of the project is good. Not many of us must have thought of doing something like that. It must feel good to go through all the years passed by, when you look at all these pics at one time; think of the memories related to those days, those years.

  12. kre8ive_one says:

    I like how mom and dad are in Vans in 1991 (first photo) and the son is in Vans in 2009 (last photo).

  13. Donald D'Haene says:

    I’m not reading the other comments..just thought I’d post how cool this is…Great keepsakes for the family. I love how the mom has so many different looks..hair clothes..it’s like having documentation of what worked what didn’t…love it!

  14. Jakob says:

    “I like how mom and dad are in Vans in 1991 (first photo) and the son is in Vans in 2009 (last photo).”

    Very cool observation! As a designer, I really appreciate that!

    To the rest of you haters, let’s see your photos thru the years eh? To me, the wife/mother’s myriad of funky fashion choices says that she is an ever-changing person, searching for her new skin. To me someone who displays absolutely no outward change over a 15+ year course would seem more grim. That would tell me that they had at some point either forgotten about or given up on themselves. Change is a sign of movement, of life, and proof of a desire to go on. I find her to be pleasant. On the thin edge of being hip/bohemnian and not giving a f#$k what we think.

    I also enjoyed seeing the son change. The most physically astonishing is the first year of life. Seeing the cycle from Limp Bizkit (shown) to Wilco (assumed) is fun to see.

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