ON SEEING, A Journal #496

Growing Up: Matthew Michela

October 4, 2022


I have studied of over 200 children from childhood into their 20’s.  I began with some when they were newborns as is the case with Matthew; others 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 man, Matthew Michela, proved to be as remarkable and authentic as any of the many young people I have had the privilege to get to know.


0 years


3 years


9 years


10 years


14 years


15 years


16 years


18 years


19 years


28 years



Thank you, Matthew (and mom). I wish you good luck in your upcoming college education and future. I hope you’ll return in two years.



The “Growing Up “Project:

I am interested in everything about human development. I am fascinated by maturation, growth, emotional, educational and physical development. My exploration, a major 30 year odyssey, has been an adventure that has yielded riches beyond my 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’ve 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 written permission from that group to publish and post.



We just recently learned that Jackson Nazario, one of the most wonderful young people in The Growing Up Project was killed in a plane crash. Our hearts are broken; this is a terrible loss of a bright, engaging beautiful young man.