For About Face, Los Angeles-based photographer Susan Swihart chronicles the evolution of her identical twin daughters as they transition from childhood into adolescence. Beginning when the girls were eight-years-old, she has spent the last three years discovering and exploring the complexities of their bond as well as her own relationship to them.
Swihart explains that as a parent, she understands her role in both encouraging her children’s bond as well as supporting their distinct passions, interests, and personalities. Over the course of the project, she has seen the pair evolve from the enmeshed intimacy of their youth to a more flexible friendship. Where they one depended acutely on one another for security and comfort, the mother has witnessed each gradually venture out into the world in her own separate way.
Swihart’s images are staged in collaboration with her daughters, whose relationship with the camera shifts just as their relationship with one another has done. In the early years, they were at first uncertain about the project but ultimately got excited about participating in the shoots. As emerging young women, they have predictably become less comfortable in front of the camera.
Although she works within archetypal theme of twins, Swihart’s work is decidedly about these particular girls, their unique struggles, and their individual triumphs.
Susan Swihart is a finalist for Photolucida’s Critical Mass.
All images © Susan Swihart