For her undergraduate project Young and Old, the freshman photographer Kelsey Duff photographed two models: the first is 18, and the second is 65. By excluding her subjects’ faces from her close frame, she catalogs the aging process as it might apply to an everywoman figure; despite trademark tattoos and painted toenails, each woman is stripped of clothing and other common markers of individual identity.
Duff’s warm natural lighting imbues the work with a romance that highlights tone and shadow. Avoiding the impulse to capture moments of conventional idealized feminine beauty, she shoots each woman with an imaginative fascination; as if the subject of a yellow-filled Baroque landscape, the three-dimensional erosion of flesh through stretch marks, scars, pores, and wrinkles are dramatically and reverently seen. Even the clothing change from black skivvies to white underthings reads as part of a years’ old fading process.
The ever-present backdrop of shifting daylight and plain white bed sheets serve to visually condense years into a single dawn or dusk; as Duff follows her visual narrative, the time-lapse between her two subjects flattens, forming a timeless archive of the female body. Caught at two poles of the same lifetime, young and old woman engage in a physical dialogue, exploring beauty and eternity hand-in-hand.
I’m excited to see what this young artist produces next, and I hope she continues to explore portraiture that features a diverse set of subjects. What do you think?
Thanks to Lenscratch
Images via Lenscratch