On Seeing, A Journal. #391

“Growing Up” – Michael Collins

August 24, 2020


5 years and 23 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 Michael, 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.

I am interested in everything about human development, 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.  This special young man, Michael Collins, proved to be as unique, fascinating and genuine as any of the many young people I have had the privilege to get to know.

And, since his brother Danny who has Down’s Syndrome, came along for each session and has been a vital part of his life, I made images of them, together.


The series of of these images of these two brothers, spanning 14 years, will appear in the next “ON SEEING.”


Michael, 5 years


Michael, 6 years


Michael, 7 years


Michael, 8 years


Michael, 9 years


Michael, 10 years


Michael, 11 years


Michael, 12 years


Michael, 13 years


Michael, 14 years


Michael, 15 years


Michael, 16 years


Michael, 17 years


Michael, 18 years


Michael, 21 years


Michael, 23 years



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.

Look for the images of Michael and Danny on Friday, August 28.