Until I Cease to Exist: Zed Nelson’s Family Project

Memory  /  Time Travel
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“I began this project 25 years ago,” writes photographer Zed Nelson. “The wife of a friend was nine months pregnant, and I had an idea, based on time-lapse photography, to photograph them with their baby soon after the birth, and then every year, from then on, forever.

I planned the shoots in a formal, almost scientific way. Each year, on the same date, against the same backdrop, under the same lighting, I would photograph the same family. This way there are no distractions, only the miracle of growth and the changes of time and aging.”


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.

— Zed Nelson, Photographer


According to Nelson, “the project is planned to continue until I cease to exist, or until the family die, or refuse to continue.”

Next up: Five Guys, One Cockroach: The Copco Lake Five Project 


Also in the series Magic vs. the Bony Guy: Six Lifespan Projects That Speak to Us All