‚99‘ is an ongoing project, portraying young people born in 1999.
For most people the year 1999 was an exciting year, as it clearly marked a new beginning – a new millennium.
For me personally 1999 was a beautiful journey and adventure, since my first child was born.
Now, 19 years on, all of those born that year are experiencing a similar feeling we did back then: a new start.
Having finished highschool, for the first time ever it is up to them what happens next in their lives.
There are so many hopes and dreams; anything seems, and is, possible.
For me, as the mother of one of the young people shown here, it is utterly fascinating to watch my child making decisions.
As an artist and photographer it is beautiful to meet, to talk to and observe the 18- and 19-year-olds and to lend them a voice by listening to them, to their dreams, worries and ambitions and by portraying them.
Over the course of this project, I learned a lot of unexpected things:
First of all, I was amazed by how responsible, sensible and grown-up the young adults are.
They really opened up during our conversations and were happy to be given attention and a voice.
I was also baffled by the reluctance my project was met with initially. Given their access to phone cameras, Instagram and co, many still seemed to shy away from a camera.
But I was also reminded of how I used to feel and think twenty-something years ago when having finished school put me in the somewhat awkward position of deciding what to do with the rest of my life.
The excitement and at the same time the pressure of not wanting to let one’s parents down came back to me in a rush, making me appreciate even more what young people today are facing and dealing with in such a responsible way:
Joe took a four-month break traveling Asia all by himself. He is currently working at a social media company and is preparing his application for art school.
Johanna is working in a café and in a cosmetics store and is planning to become a teacher.
Jannik has been doing voluntary work in the social sector for the last couple of months as a child care worker and is going to study chemistry.
Jakob is enrolled in agricultural science and for the future hopes doing research in genetic engineering to help find solutions for world hunger.
Lilly has applied to an art school and to a film school and is waiting for feedback. In the meantime, she works as a nanny.
Noemi currently works in a clothing store, saving all her money for a trip to Colombia with her 81-year-old grandfather. Afterwards, she thinks she might study geography.