Faces of a century

Jan Langer

Czech photographer Jan Langer created portraits of centenarians in the same poses of photos taken when they were young.

“To my surprise, I didn’t need to put people into a certain mood or atmosphere to evoke their previous look,” Langer says. “Apparently there’s something in a person that stays the same through the years. I think a lot about what that means, what conclusions you can draw as a viewer. Actually, I am still unraveling that.

Because, naturally, people change with the passing of time. They have more life experience, are sometimes humble or just tired out. They can feel satisfied or complete, but also disappointed. They find their life valuable or worthless. Because of these insights, their personality also changes in some way. But there is always something that makes them unique, something that also stays the same. You can see that at a glance in older faces, combined with the memories that remain in a hundred-year-old spirit.”

“I’ve noticed that people get really moved by the photos. Looking at them makes us realize that we will all become old and look back at our lives. That we really should try to live every moment. Then one day we will see very clearly what really has been of value. What sticks with us are the feelings we cannot escape. Was it a good life? Did I live it well? Have I lived in a way that was of value to me, but also to the people around me? If this all happens to me in my future, then I’ll be more than grateful.”

  • The complete story and more photos can be found in Issue 26.
  • You can also take a look on Jan Langer’s website.

Text Chris Muyres Photography Jan Langer

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