I’m humbled that Kate has asked me to guest post on thisisthewhat. I love her, I’ve been consistently impressed with the caliber of work she’s featuring here, and so I’m honored to be in such talented company.
I’d like to share a long-term project that I started 2 years ago. It’s called “28 at 28“.
In my late 20s, I sensed a turning point coming. My photo assisting days were over, my photography career was in full swing, and my aspirations as an artist and commercial photographer were in the forefront of my mind. I found myself swept-up in the irreverent parties and carefree feasts typical of my mid-20s less and less. I was becoming more confident in my photography, more aware of my place in the context of other artists, historical and contemporary. And I marveled at the success of my close friends. Around me my peers were making strides in their careers, becoming prolific in their artwork, finding partners, buying homes, and some even having children of their own. All of us were finding our voices, becoming comfortable in our own skins, growing into adults.
It was a good time to start documenting my friends, and so I developed a format to do it. I was sparked by Nicholas Nixon’s masterful “The Brown Sisters,” a project that spanned 25 years, and I researched the British ITV “Up” documentaries too.
When I was 28, I shot the first installment of this project, 28 other 28-year-olds. They were close friends, and friends-of-friends, both artists, actors, musicians, scientists, corporate managers and municipal employees. The next year, when I was 29, I shot as many of the first set of 28 as I could, and added an additional subject, making the set “29 at 29.” Now that I’m 30, I’ll shoot the same subjects from last year, and add one, making it “30 at 30.” I’ll continue the same format in the years to come.
By serializing this project, and by growing it by one each year, my plan is to document my generation as it realizes its potential. In iterations to come I will explore our defining traits and work to distill our ambitions. My hope is to capture how knowledge, perspective, and sense-of-self evolve with age.
Please visit “28 at 28” for the entire set of 28, and drop me an email if you’d like to be updated as I post 29at29 and 30at30 over the next two months. You can see more of my work at www.samcomen.com and follow me on Twitter for frequent updates.
Thanks so much,