LIFESTYLE

Photographer Takes Portraits Of Friends 17 Years Apart To Show How Time Transforms Us

'We live in a culture that’s obsessed with youth.'

28/11/2017 10:21 GMT | Updated 28/11/2017 10:31 GMT

A photographer has shared photos of her classmates taken 17 years apart to highlight the transformations people undergo throughout their lives.

Josephine Sittenfeld took the first series of portraits in 2000 when she was in her third year at Princeton University. At the time, she and her classmates were 20 years old.

Then, after attending a college reunion earlier this year, she was inspired to recreate the photos. Thankfully, her old classmates agreed. 

“Reunions make people evaluate their lives and think back to their younger selves. I was curious to see whether my peers were the same or different from when we were in college,” Josephine tells HuffPost UK.

“Personally, my life has taken turns I couldn’t have imagined, but many of my interests are still the same.”

Josephine Sittenfeld
Sophie in 2000 and 2017

While her classmates may have changed a little externally over the past 17 years, Josephine says the largest difference among most is their confidence.

“We both change and don’t change that much over time,” she says. 

“We live in a culture that’s obsessed with youth, but to me, we all seem so much more comfortable in our own skin, even if we’re no longer 20 years old.”

Josephine adds that the world in 2017 is a very different place to what is was in 2000, which has also influenced her photography.

“Back then [in 2000], the internet existed, but we still did research by reading books we checked out from the library,” she says.

“Only a few of us had cell phones0 and they didn’t work on campus. I photographed my peers with a medium-format film camera and printed the negatives in a darkroom using an enlarger.”

In contrast, her latest portraits were shot using a digital camera. 

Josephine Sittenfeld
Ethan in 2000 and in 2017

“I wanted to reference the original settings and posture but wasn’t trying to exactly replicate the original photos,” she explains.

“I picked a background that resembled the original but wasn’t too rigid about sticking to the exact spots. I made do with the spaces I had.”

Josephine took the original set of photos when she was just starting out as a photographer, but now as an established professional, she’s still drawn towards taking portraits of people in her community. 

“I love stories that unfold over time and this project definitely fits into that theme,” she says

Check out more photos from the Reunion project below or visit Josephine Sittenfeld’s website to see more of her work. 

Josephine Sittenfeld
Anna in 2000
Josephine Sittenfeld
Anna in 2017
Josephine Sittenfeld
Ellie in 2000
Josephine Sittenfeld
Ellie in 2017
Josephine Sittenfeld
Eveline in 2000
Josephine Sittenfeld
Eveline in 2017
Josephine Sittenfeld
Larry in 2000
Josephine Sittenfeld
Larry in 2017
Josephine Sittenfeld
Becky in 2000
Josephine Sittenfeld
Becky in 2017
Josephine Sittenfeld
Tenley and Ryan in 2000
Josephine Sittenfeld
Tenley and Ryan in 2000