1982 - Ongoing
What started out as a simple question in 1982 became the impetus for Weathering Time: ‘What would it be like to photograph myself every day and watch myself grow older?’ I was twenty-five years old at the time…
My methodology was simple: I chose a 50 mm lens aimed directly at me to keep distortion to a minimum; my body was shown from head to toe. For the first thirty-six years I used a film camera. If I failed to take a picture on a given day, I advanced the film one frame so no image was recorded. Each roll of film captured one month. There were many days, some months, and even three years when I did not take pictures. The missed days were mostly because I forgot. In my 1984 journal I wrote that I did not photograph ‘the rest of May’ because I was ‘burnt out.’
In 1991, 1992, and 1995 there are no self-portraits. I simply lost interest in the project. Thankfully, in January 1996 I realized the personal importance of my archive and started up again. While I still miss days, weeks, and an occasional month, I plan to continue the self-portraits as long as I am able.
For a while I saw my pictures as simply daily documents of what I looked like, but my process evolved over the years.
In 2006 I began using a point-and- shoot digital camera when I traveled or went backpacking for extended periods of time. In 2019 I moved away from film and now shoot exclusively with a digital camera. Beginning in 2012 and continuing today, I occasionally reenact a particular image in the archive to contrast the changes over time. ‘Jimmy’s robe’ is an example of this. Finally, I am adding old family photographs from my parents’ archive.
The resulting visual calendar now consists of more than 2,500 photographs. Most often I’m by myself in these images, but sometimes I’m with family and friends. As time passes, births, deaths, celebrations, and bad days happen. Pets come and go, fashions and hairstyles evolve, typewriters, analogue clocks, and telephones with cords disappear; film gives way to digital and the computer replaces the darkroom.
While Weathering Time chronicles my youth to the dawn of my old age, the images also reflect the experiences of my generation and underscore the cultural, technological, and physical changes that have occurred over the past thirty-nine years.