Photographs are probably the best way to treasure and cling on to family memories, but when it comes to family portraits, award winning photographer Zed Nelson has created a project unlike any other. 22 years ago, Zed Nelson came up with an idea based on time-lapse photography to see how families change and age over time. When his friend and his wife were expecting their first baby in the summer of 1991, Nelson decided that he would take a family portrait of them on the same day, at the same time every year.
With this beautiful series aptly named ‘The Family’, they have been documented ever since. But what is more obvious with this collection of family photos rather than our usual capture-the-moment memories is the obvious analytical approach taken by Nelson. The photographs were all taken in the same conditions as they are simply stood against the same blank backdrop, under the same lighting. This means that there is no distractions to take the focus away from the family, so any changes in the pictures are entirely down to them. Nelson explains that this is how he endeavoured to create the “formal” and “scientific” side of the experiment. Through the years we are able to follow the family’s journey together as they appear to flutter between moods of vitality and life, to being more quiet and contemplative. What intrigues Nelson the most however, is the family’s body language, which he insists is not down to the fact that they’re being caught in a photographic moment, but instead takes a look into the underlying bonds between the father, mother and son and reveals the way that it changes over time.