Edouard Janssens

Fine Art & Portrait Photographer

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1 to 100 Years

These faces - aged 1, or 10, or 100 years old and immortalised in black and white by Edouard Janssens - are all smiling, be it coyly or in a great, broad grin. Singled out because the artist so willed it and placed side-by-side in a deceptively anonymous line they all express a vital light and clarity, yet are condemned to exhibit the ineradicable wrinkles left by the passing years or the incipient ones of those that lie ahead. They are all snapshots in time, individual links in the infinite ongoing chain of the generations, acting as a reminder of the inexorable onwards rush of time and the fate that awaits us all.

The portraits comprising the One to One Hundred Years series display the mischievous candour of childhood, the ardour of youth, a self-consciously gauche smile, and exhibit the quiet certainty of hope or the vacant gaze of those who seemed already to have moved on elsewhere.

The series One to One Hundred Years, a gallery of portraits of 100 women and 100 men aged from 1 to 100 years, takes us on an exploration of time’s arrow and the interlocking cycles of existence, examining a nexus of issues relating to life and death, infinity and humanity. Most were taken in a studio and they all examine ageing, the path taken and that yet to be trod depending on each person’s life expectancy. The series is replete with symbolism and it provides the photographer, whose portrait appears at the middle of the series of male portraits, with an opportunity to reflect on his own life and address fundamental existential questions that relate to us all. Who am I? What have I done with my life? Who will I be tomorrow?

Thanks to the happenstance of the calendar the black-and-white photos were subsequently chosen by the European Commission to be printed and exhibited side-by-side for six months on temporary hundred-metre-long rails at the foot of the Berlaymont in Brussels for the Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations in 2012.