Every now and then, I will be in a situation where people see me with my father and there is no occasion to introduce them to him. You know those times, perhaps it is a coffee shop or a restaurant. You are engaged in your own conversation, and although you see friends, the occurrence just does not call for an introduction. Many times afterwards I will run into these same people and one of their first questions will be whether we are related. ‘He looked like you, was he your dad?’ I answer that ‘Yes, he is. You really think we look alike?’ Because, and I’m sure that I am not the first to think this, I as a son don’t particularly see the similarities. Mind you, I’m sure they exist, but it’s probably a case of being too close to the issue, to see the forest from the trees.

This series, titled Generations, has been carried out by the German photographer Frauke Theilking. In it, parents and offspring are paired side-by-side against a neutral background. Along this line, neither wears any clothing which might distract from the corporeal features, or draw distinction through generational gaps in dress. Below, the artist describes his thinking and inspirations, wishing not only to reveal the sameness, but the closeness which we share with our offspring and progenitors.

 Arc2o-generations-Frauke Theilking (5)

 Courtesy of Frauke Theilking

Man spends his life trying to learn to want, to watch, to think, to feel, to be inspired to move and act. This is the synthesis of his intellectual, moral, and his physical life, resulting in visible signs, his appearance reflected. The work deals with generations within a family, the aspect of facial similarities and similarities between mother / daughter and father / son is in the foreground. Family physiognomies can not be denied, and it is interesting to compare features which pass from generation to generation and which are carried through particularly strongly.

 Arc2o-generations-Frauke Theilking (4)

 Courtesy of Frauke Theilking

Clothing was deliberately omitted, both to the draw out the issue of aging, as well as to refer to intimacy and familiarity that plays an essential role,particularly in the relationship between father / mother / child.

Arc2o-generations-Frauke Theilking (3)

 Courtesy of Frauke Theilking

A striking characteristic of each photo-comparison is the shoulders. In subject matter such as these, the instinctive place to look for comparison is frequently the face. But the shoulders seem to show something deeper. One gains a glimpse of the unseen parent, as well as to the temperance of the individual. Comfortability with age is a phrase which comes strongly to mind. One might say that similarity is in the face, but personality rests on the shoulders.

 Courtesy of Frauke Theilking

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