The remarkable transformations of small town residents snapped in the Eighties and photographed again 21 years on


The remarkable transformations of small town residents snapped in the Eighties and photographed again 21 years on

|

UPDATED:

19:45 GMT, 26 July 2012

A photographer has documented the incredible physical and emotional transformations that occur in individuals over the span of 21 years.

Peter Feldstein, an Iowa-based photographer, has presented a series of two-part works that juxtaposes images of people snapped 21 years ago with photos taken of them today.

The success of The Oxford Project, which has captured a handful of the small population living in Oxford, Iowa, has even led to the creation of a book.

Captivating: Peter Feldstein's The Oxford Project presents a series of two-part works that show individuals photographed 21 years ago and then photographed today. Ben Stroker, above, is one of the examples

Captivating: Peter Feldstein's The Oxford Project presents a series of two-part works that show individuals photographed 21 years ago and then photographed today. Ben Stroker, above, is one of the examples

Captivating: Peter Feldstein's The Oxford Project presents a series of two-part works that show individuals photographed 21 years ago and then photographed today. Ben Stroker, above, is one of the examples

The photographer had taken the original photographs in 1984 after offering to take free portraits of anybody in town who wished to pose for him.

At the time, the town's population was just 673.

/07/26/article-2179354-143B1A4E000005DC-219_306x423.jpg” width=”306″ height=”423″ alt=”Before and after: Brianne Leckness is another example. She was abandoned by her parents as a child” class=”blkBorder” />

Before and after: Brianne Leckness is another example. She was abandoned by her parents as a child

Before and after: Brianne Leckness is another example. She was abandoned by her parents as a child

All grown up: Hunter Tandy, pictured above, claimed that he is Ashton Kutcher's second cousin

All grown up: Hunter Tandy, pictured above, claimed that he is Ashton Kutcher's second cousin

All grown up: Hunter Tandy, pictured above, claimed that he is Ashton Kutcher's second cousin

Evolution: Jennifer Walker, pictured, has come a long way since she was first photographed 21 years ago

Evolution: Jennifer Walker, pictured, has come a long way since she was first photographed 21 years ago

Evolution: Jennifer Walker, pictured, has come a long way since she was first photographed 21 years ago

One particularly striking shot shows a small baby, Ben Stroker, being carried by his father.

The photographer and his new sidekick learned upon their return that Ben's father had in fact died when his son was just ten.

Ben told Mr Bloom: 'He had renal failure. Pretty much I think about my dad every
day. I remember feeling his beard against my face. I remember his
hands – they were soft and warm. Two years ago when I was 19, my mother died of cancer.

He added: 'A lot of people don't like small towns
because they're so tight-knit. But that's what makes this place so
great. You know who's sleeping with whom but when your mother dies, you
also know there'll be 28 people at your door with casseroles.'

Memories: Jim Hoyt Sr., pictured, was a U.S. soldier during World War II. His son is also included in the mix

Memories: Jim Hoyt Sr., pictured, was a U.S. soldier during World War II. His son is also included in the mix

Memories: Jim Hoyt Sr., pictured, was a U.S. soldier during World War II. His son is also included in the mix

Familiar: Holly Poeschel, pictured, has left Oxford after working several jobs in the small town

Familiar: Holly Poeschel, pictured, has left Oxford after working several jobs in the small town

Familiar: Holly Poeschel, pictured, has left Oxford after working several jobs in the small town

Another work has captured Brianne Leckness, woman in her twenties who was originally photographed as a youngster.

Her story is no less fascinating.

She said: 'My mom left me at a church when I was three. She pinned a note to my shirt that said, “Please take care of her. We can't any longer”.'

She also revealed that she is living with the two men who father her two children, as well as 'another guy'.

'Nothing for me has been normal, so why should now be normal' she asked Mr Groom and Mr Feldstein.

A man named Hunter Tandy, who is also pictured, claimed that his second cousin is Ashton Kutcher.

He
said at the time of his interview: 'Ashton and his wife Demi Moore came
and visited me 16 or 18 days ago. They surprised me. Ashton called and
asked where I was living and then they just showed up. They stayed at
the Super 8.

Sports star: Tim Hennes, above, works as a building inspector but 'had the world by the a**' 21 years ago

Sports star: Tim Hennes, above, works as a building inspector but 'had the world by the a**' 21 years ago

Sports star: Tim Hennes, above, works as a building inspector but 'had the world by the a**' 21 years ago

Aged well: Pat Henkelman, above, was married to a man for 45 years until he left her for another woman

Aged well: Pat Henkelman, above, was married to a man for 45 years until he left her for another woman

Aged well: Pat Henkelman, above, was married to a man for 45 years until he left her for another woman

'Ashton and I played a round of golf, and she stayed at the motel. When we got back, we all sat around and shot the s**t. Demi is pretty cool. She's really levelheaded, a real nice person. I told Ashton, “You are one lucky son of a b***h!”

Jim Hoyt Sr., also pictured, described being one of the first four U.S. soldiers to liberate Germany's Buchenwald concentration camp during World War II.

He said: 'There were thousands of bodies piled high. I saw hearts that had been taken from live people in medical experiments.

'Thinking back, I would have pushed to be a psychologist—if for no other reason than to understand myself better.'

A plumber who has owned 13 lions, a
woman who was married for 45 years until her husband left her for
another woman and a young girl who has worked various jobs and since
moved on from Oxford, are also included in the mix.

Mr Feldstein told TheMorningNews.org that 21 years had brought plenty of changes, many of which were glaringly obvious.

Lion man: Calvin Colony, above, has owned 13 lions over his lifespan. He is a plumber and diver for the county

Lion man: Calvin Colony, above, has owned 13 lions over his lifespan. He is a plumber and diver for the county

Lion man: Calvin Colony, above, has owned 13 lions over his lifespan. He is a plumber and diver for the county

Another work has captured Brianne Leckness, woman in her twenties who was originally photographed as a youngster.

'Most people are shorter, taller or heavier today than they were when I first photographed them,' he said. 'Some are now stooped. Several cannot walk or breathe unassisted. At least four farmers have lost fingers, hands, or limbs.'

Mr Bloom added that he learned a lot about small towns, such as Oxford, that exist in the U.S.

He said: 'Everyone wants to talk and few people want to listen. If you give people the opportunity, and you’re sincere about listening carefully, most people will unburden themselves by telling you what’s on their minds.

'In a sense, we acted as confessors. My interest was to give voice to people whose voices are usually ignored.'

From The Oxford Project. Welcome Books. Photographs 2008 Peter Feldstein. Text 2008 Stephen G. Bloom. Preface 2008 Gerald Stern. www.welcomebooks.com/theoxfordproject

All photographs are the sole intellectual property of Peter Feldstein and are protected under United States and international copyright laws. They are herewith made available by permission of the Publisher for one time use only and may not be additionally copied, transmitted, published, reproduced, stored, manipulated, projected or altered in any way, including without limitation to any digitization or synthesizing of the images, alone or with any other material, by use of computer or other electronic means or any other.