For 32 Years, Artist Took Photos Of The Same Couples To Show The Effects Of Time

As Bob Dylan once said, "the present now will later be past."

When Swiss photographer Barbara Davatz met Kurt and Nicola back in 1982, the young couple caught her eye for their uncanny resemblance. Both with blond hair in crew cuts and head to toe dressed in black, they seemed like intriguing subjects for a photo shoot.

Little did she know that one portrait of Kurt and Nicola would lead to a 32-year-long photography project, As Time Goes By. But, obviously, it did.

"They were part of a circle of interesting people who were all 10 to 20 years younger than me. It was they who provided the initial spark, drawing my attention to other couples who conveyed messages through their 'dual' appearance," Davatz writes in her press release.

Davatz started taking photos of look-alike couples and ended up focusing on 12 young individuals who were either lovers, friends, or otherwise related. She repeatedly took their portraits over the span of 32 years, more precisely in 1982, 1988, 1997, and 2014.


Carole and Serge, 1982.

© Barbara Davatz

Davatz's work is not only a wonderful retrospective on the fashion of a certain decade, but also reflects the changing character and behavior of her subjects.

"Some of the partners had disappeared, others were new, and in some cases — the pair had become a family," Davatz says.

Davatz told Slate that she came to thinking of her models as her "photographic family" and kept an eye on their lives from afar. However, the only times they would meet were during the portrait sessions.

Carole and Serge, 1988.

© Barbara Davatz

In collaboration with Edition Patrick Frey, Davatz has also published a book that contains all the portraits and serves as a beautiful representation of a human existence.

"They tell of separations, of aging and loss, of the growth of families and the inheritance of family traits. But also of current urban society in each period," book description reads.

Davatz's work will also be available for viewing at Fotostiftung Schweiz in Zurich, Switzerland, from February 27 through May 16.

Carole and Serge, 1997.

© Barbara Davatz

Carole and Serge, 2014.

© Barbara Davatz

Beni and Andi, 1982.

© Barbara Davatz

Beni and Charlotte, Lou-Salomé, Natalie, 2014.

© Barbara Davatz

Andi and Andrea, Anna, Leila, 2014.

© Barbara Davatz

Lili and Franciska, 1982.

© Barbara Davatz

Lili and Franciska, 1997.

© Barbara Davatz


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