What were you doing in 1982? Nancy Floyd had just graduated from college with a degree in photography and was thinking of the future. Probably thinking of this day itself-—when she was late middle age and would have a record of her aging process.
For almost 40 years, Floyd has been photographing herself. Not in the high-concept way of a Cindy Sherman, but in a straightforward, this-is-me style that shows what a real woman looks like through the years.
The result of decades’ worth of shutter-snaps is the book Weathering Time, which was recently published by Gost Books and named the winner of the inaugural ICP / GOST First Photo Book Award.
Nancy Floyd Says, “This is Us“
The book has won high praise from critics, such as The New Yorker’s Johanna Fateman, who is captivated by Floyd’s “laid-back kind of tenacity—an anti-perfectionistic, unfixed attitude, which lends her book, a curiously organized archive of some twelve hundred black-and-white images, a meandering charm.”
The photos aren’t organized chronologically, but by theme, such as Floyd with her parents, with her husband, with various pets, in political T-shirts, in her underwear.
Looking through the work makes us wonder what would stay the same and what would change if photos of ourselves were laid out like this.
“Her strain of snapshot conceptualism, profoundly personal and eminently personable, could have been overwhelmed with minutiae or weighed down by retrospective insight,” said Fateman. “Instead, with its light touch and searching, unsmiling star, the book breathes with open-ended nuance.”
Despite her changing hairstyles and the deepening lines in her face, we recognize the things that stay the same from photo to photo: her small, inquisitive eyes; the wry, almost-smile set of her mouth; the solid shape of her body (unlike some of us, she doesn’t seem to have acquired pounds as she’s aged). Another consistent, one that makes her feel approachable, an Everywoman, is her lack of vanity and pretense.
Looking through the work makes us wonder what would stay the same and what would change if photos of ourselves were laid out like this. When would that droop in one eye start to show? Is our jawline as defined now as when we were 25? Would we be able to face the camera year after year with the same courage?