The AgeMap series of photographs chronicles the passage of time by juxtaposing and merging portraits of the same individual as child and as adult. The point at which the images are physically torn together becomes the boundary line (or bridge) between decades of passing time.
The AgeMap photograph also suggests that much of our nature or who we are is established at a very early age, and that these character traits remain unwavering throughout our lives. This conclusion is backed up by the studies of many behavioral scientists.
Mr. Adams began this series in the early 90's using black & white school and professional portrait photographs as his source material. These early photographs feel curiously romanticized, primarily because of the black and white imagery and the stylized poses the photographers of yesteryear chose for their subjects.
In 2000, the series AgeMap was updated. By the mid-sixties, color film had become the medium of choice. In this new series the poses of the children are more straightforward, like mugshots. Every pore, blemish, and wrinkle becomes intensified with the use of color photography, particularly when mirrored against the unblemished image of youth.
It is human nature to ask who am I? And beyond that, where did I come from? By asking these questions, we try to both understand our connection to this world and ground our identities in long history of our families and forebears.
FamilyTree is a series of portraits that combine two separate photographs of immediate family members into one picture. To accomplish this, individual portraits are made of two family members in similar poses. The negatives are printed at equal size and torn and glued together to make one image of two family members. My technique for assembling this montage is 100% analog – film to paper. No digital manipulation is used to alter or enhance the original images. The two images blend together or don’t.
Families endlessly discuss whether a new baby resembles his or her mother or father, because physical resemblance is the most striking and primary evidence of a genetic connection. The FamilyTree portrait visually maps the genetic characteristics we inherit from our parents and demonstrates how some aspects of our futures were codified at the moment of conception. This composite photograph could be viewed as an eerie life-map as the montage of two different family members is sometimes mistaken for a montage of the same person at ages.
– Bobby Neel Adams