Photographer finds people she shot up to 20 years ago to show how different they are now

Photographer finds people she shot up to 20 years ago to show how different they are now

Back in 1997, Beth Yarnelle Edwards undertook a project which saw her photograph the people of her neighbourhood in order to document the everyday lives of families in suburban America.

Dissatisfied with her own suburban existence, Edwards wanted to find out what it is about this way of life that made it attractive to people. She already knew her subjects, which made the project easier to carry out.

20 years later, and after many changes in her own life, Rebecca returned to her original subjects in order to revive the project. She aims to how people change physically, especially from children to adults. However, one thing that shocked her was the strength of certain families and the stability they have in their lives. "This population is kind of blessed," she said. "This isn’t how the larger population lives."

Check out some of the photos below:

Lilah - 2004/2016

"A year after the second photo, I am a senior in high school. It’s my first year at an online school because my ballet schedule doesn’t allow me the time to attend a brick-and-mortar school. 

"I still love clothes and fashion. I also love cooking. I still spend lots of time at my mom’s art gallery, but now I work for her on the weekends. I also still spend almost every weekend with my grandparents, cooking, swimming, and reading. Life is crazy and busy and overwhelming, but also exciting.

"Deciding I wanted to become a professional ballerina is probably the biggest change in my life since the first photo was made. Also, my parents’ divorce is something that I definitely didn’t see coming in 2004 and that drastically changed my life." - Lilah

Niki, Rita and Lucia - 2000/2017

"My sisters and I grew up with parents who prioritized family and who made sure that we maintained a loving relationship with one another. We share a sense of humor that can usually get me out of a bad place in a matter of seconds.

"Our parents still live in the house they got married in 1975. Even after they remodelled, and we each had our own room, we still chose to sleep in the same bedroom together for the first few years. And dinner was like a sacred act.

"Every single night we sat down as a family, 99% of the time made from scratch by our working mom, and often with produce that our dad grew in the garden. Dinnertime was when we talked about school or work, complained, laughed, cried, shared advice, and got into fights." - Lucia

Erin - 1997/2017

"In the first photo, I had an average life for that time. It was all about friends and school. Now my life is all about the children. Having two kids under two takes over in a good way. Our lives really revolve around food and eating. The kids and Joe and I love to eat, and we are all good at it.

"There isn’t really anything I wish I’d known before. I think everything turned out the way it did for a reason. Maybe just don’t sweat the small stuff. Think big picture." - Erin

Lisette - 2002/2007

"The first photo was almost fifteen years ago. I was a single mom, widowed at thirty years old. Today I’m living in the same house in San Carlos with my children, 21 and 24, and two dogs.

"I have a career in art and teaching, which has flourished after going back to college for an MFA. I’m also a scuba diver now. I wish then I had known that I was capable of taking care of myself and had felt less anxious" - Lisette

Antonette and James - 2002/20017

“In the 2002 photo, we were first-time parents who had just purchased a home in the Hayward Hills. We wanted to give our daughter, Danielle, the best life possible. Before the second photo, we had added a son, Darien, who is now fourteen. Danielle is now a freshman in college.

"I grew up in Oakland, and James grew up in Richmond, California. We both lived in the inner city in blue-collar communities with modest single-family homes. We now live in a larger home in a middle-class suburban community. It’s a more affluent neighborhood than the ones we grew up in.

"Time flies by quickly, so you have to enjoy your children at each stage in their lives. Also, spend more time with your aging parents, as they may not be with you for much longer” – Antonette

Marg and John - 2000/2007

“2000 was a hectic time in our lives. John was working long hours at a Silicon Valley startup, I was working as an assistant grade school teacher.

"We live in the same house today in San Carlos, California. Between the first and last photos, both of our children have moved out on their own, and our oldest, Sara, got married.

"John retired from full-time management activities, and both of us have had to deal with some significant ‘medical adventures,’ which we happily have gotten through.” — John & Marg

Kyle - 1999/2016

"In 1997 my life was fun and free, living by the moment. Now it’s more structured. I’ve graduated college and am working as an IT engineer while I try to get my startup running.

"In addition to my startup, my goals are to travel the world taking photos and to buy my own place.

"I’m currently living with my parents in Hillsborough, where I grew up. If I had known then what I know now I would have invested in Google and other tech companies” — Kyle

Rita - 1997/2016

Beth's photos are stunning and are a stark reminder of how quickly life can change. 20 years may seem like a long time, but in reality, it really isn't.