Grit Schwerdtfeger


May 7, 2015 - July 5, 2015

I took photos of my ten-year-old son over one year. A new portrait was shot every day: At home, on the road, in the daytime or at night. In December 2009, my son Lorenz wished to get photographed every day the following year. “In this way, I can see how I develop.” Born in 2000, the year 2010 was particularly important to him. Lorenz chose the places for the portraits on his own. Over time, he wanted to get photographed where he just stayed: Apartment or balcony, on the way to school, highway rest stop or park. It has never been any sensational place.


The series became a contemporary document. The daily, ordinary span of a year in its entirety has some influence, because the portraiture became part of our everyday life. Sometimes I shot the photo in the morning before school, sometimes after school, evenings in the bathroom or even out of the bed. But also on birthdays, Christmas and on holidays. Therefore he was dressed sometimes very fashionable or unwashed and scruffy. One day he had a scratch on his forehead which was very remarkable. This is a detail of which you get used to and its disappearance isn’t noticeable.


Lorenz never changed clothes before taking the photograph. In this way some phases evolved – demonstrative T-shirts during elementary school years, dark sunglasses and white shirt (mafia, cool boy) in his new school. A green hoody, in which he feels secure, is worn all year. 

There was a difference between taking these photographs of my son Lorenz and my photography practice until now. The project came to have a naturalness of procedure and an integration in our daily routine. Both the excitement and the wish to express - on his part as well as on my part - lapsed. Likewise the wait for the right moment or the beautiful light. Sometimes it wasn’t exciting because taking the picture was often slotted somehow in the day, sometimes in the last moment, because we almost forgot it. This action became equivalent to the expression (that is the act of making a photograph), which we had to do daily without questioning, which just had to be done.


What I didn’t expect is the quality of the emotion of the photographs, which was formed while one of us was stressed out. The distance between us varies dependent on personal closeness to each other at that moment. But these are the pictures which become the visual in connection with the daily and the beautiful the whole year long, with its highs and lows. A particular energy was developed in this whole year of making photographs together.


This exhibition has 52 portraits (chosen from 322), printed, framed and installed, which I chose to spend some time with them, and to see them in context. I installed them specifically not chronologically, but instead by little stories, or by how Lorenz felt at the moment. Sometimes, each group captures the same emotion from Lorenz; sometimes they are opposite emotions. There are groups where the distance between mother and son is the same. I made groups that described all of the aspects of emotion contained in the entire body of work.