On Seeing, A Journal. #387

Growing Up: Samantha Shiekman

August 11, 2020


9 years and 21 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 Samantha, 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, Samantha Shiekman, proved to be as remarkable and authentic as any of the many young people I have had the privilege to get to know.


8 years


9 years


10 years


11 years


12 years


13 years


14 years


15 years


16 years


16.8 years


18 years


19 years


20 years


21 years


25 years


Thank you, Samantha (and mom).
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.



In September 2019, when Samantha was 25, she brought her mother along and once again, we had the chance to visit. Samantha knew at the time that her mother was very ill and they were both excited for the chance to make some images together.

Dona Shiekman passed away in July, 2020.