On Seeing, A Journal. #434

Growing Up: Athena Smith

May 25, 2021

 

 

7 years and 22 years

 

I have studied over 200 children from childhood into their 20’s. I began some when they were newborns; others, as is the case with Athena, started about the time they could read and write. For all of them I made annual studio portraits and asked them to write answers to a series of questions, a kind of diary about their lives, their feelings, their hopes, their regrets.

This special young woman, Athena Smith, proved to be as remarkable and authentic as any of the many young people I have had the privilege to get to know.

 

6 years. I asked her mother to decipher her writing.

 

7 years

 

8 years

 

9 years

 

10 years

 

11 years old

 

12 years old

 

13 years old

 

14 years old

 

15 years old

 

16 years old

 

17 years old

 

22 years old

 

Thank you, Athena.

At 9, with Mom.

 

Athena, please do return in a few years.

I am interested in everything about human development, fascinated by maturation, growth, emotional, educational and physical development. This exploration has been a major 30 year odyssey, an adventure that has yielded riches beyond my initial imagining.

Permission was signed by the parents of each and every child every year, and by the participants themselves once they turned 18. In addition, we have now sent copies of all of their writings and edited photographs to the participants for whom I have finished all my editing and have received full permission from that group to publish and post.