Czech photographer Jan Langer created an amazing photo project called “Faces of Century.” He photographed people who have lived more than 100 years and compared these photos to those from their family albums.
During the photo shoots, Jan asked how these people see life from the height of the years they lived. Most of them said time flies faster every year and then flies away in a moment. With each passing year friends disappear. At these moments, time stops, and then flies again, furiously gaining speed. Jan wondered what has changed, and what remained the same in the faces of people who had lived a whole century, saw all the sorrows and joys, and went through all the burdens of the 20th century. He wondered what loneliness in old age is, and what memories warm the soul for the rest of life. Having compared the photographs, he was able to see the similarities and differences in appearance and physiognomy and came to the conclusion that even when a person is 100 years old, one can still see the personality and identity seen in the first photo. And no wrinkles and gray hair will hide it.
WeGoRo’s team was touched by these photos to the core. Feel the power of time that inevitably changes us.
23 years old and 101 years old
On the left photo, Vlasta has just graduated from a high school for girls. Later, she worked as a cook at an airport. Now she lives in a village with all her relatives living next door. Vlasta is very interested in the political situations in the world. As she herself says, she has an ambivalent relationship with her family. The distant relatives visit her occasionally, but the closest people come regularly. Vlasta has amazing memories! She was in a truck that hit the son of Reinhard Heydrich, she sheltered Russian soldiers in the house after the liberation, her only son was arrested in 1948, and she also read the poems of her composition to the newlyweds at wedding ceremonies. More than anything in the world, Vlasta would like her family to be together.
23 years old and 101 years old
It’s hard to believe that the girl in a wedding gown, pictured on the left photo, worked as a butcher. Now she lives in her house in Zlín. Her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter come to visit her every day, and conversations with them are her favorite past time. Marie’s most vivid memory ever is the nationalization of her own company. She would love that her whole family gathered more often.
22 years old and 101 years old
The first photo was taken during his military oath. Prokop worked as an engineer-metallurgist, and now he lives on a farm that his daughter built for him. All his nearest and dearest live next to him: daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. Prokop’s hobby is cutting with a circular saw. He admits that his favorite memory from his youth is the taste of warm goat’s milk. Prokop wishes everyone good health and a good mood.
About 30 years old and 100 years old
Anna worked on a farm and now she lives in a retirement home. Her most vivid memories are of the time when she was young and could take care of herself. Every weekend, her daughter comes to see her, but Anna still feels lonely. She likes to sleep and says that one day she wants to fall asleep and not wake up.
17 years old and 101 years old
At the age of 17, Antonin was already an experienced mechanical fitter and later worked as a clerk. Now he lives in a retirement home in Blansko. He regularly reads newspapers and appreciates that his daughter comes for a visit twice a week. The most important of Antonin’s memories is a friendly team at work. He wishes everyone peace.
22 years old and 102 years old
The picture on the left was made right after Anna’s wedding. She worked on a farm, and now she lives in a retirement home in Sloupnice. Most of all, Anna loves to read romance novels. She would never forget how she sang Russian folk songs in a children’s choir, and how the war took her husband from her. More than anything in the world, she would like to meet him after death.
25 years old and 102 years old
Antonin is a creative person. He was the head of a musical group, an operator of a film projector, and a driver. Now he lives in the Czech city of Ústí nad Labem. He still loves listening to music, reading newspapers, and communicating with his daughter, who comes to him every day. Most of all in his life he appreciates the moments when he could play in the band and the days spent with his wife. Antonin would love to play clarinet once again.
101 years old
Marie worked as a sports instructor at the stadium, and her husband was a famous cardiologist. They lived in a villa in the luxurious residential quarter of Prague. In this house, Marie lived until she turned 101, and then she decided to leave. She burned all the material memories of her life — letters, diaries, photographs — and knocked at the doors of a retirement home with one robe and a toothbrush.
She left the villa with furniture, books, clothes, and all the rest to her friends, who, in turn, had to take care of her in a nursing home. They came only once, brought her a cake, and never showed up again.
Marie likes to read English and French literature and translates the names of things into other languages. Her favorite memories are about traveling with her husband to other countries: small paths in the gardens of Japan, fussy Hong Kong, a bad lunch in the slums of Africa, and the majestic reception of the Spanish royal family.
After all this amazing life, Marie came to this conclusion: “If you give something, you shouldn’t expect anything in return. And if you get something, don’t think it will remain with you until death.”
What emotions did this photo project stir in you? Joy, sadness, or maybe something else entirely? Share with us in the comments.
Preview photo credit janlanger