I Am Twentynine is a documentary project about young women of our time. A celebration of difference.
It all started in Berlin in 2016, the year I turned 29. My friends started to turn 30. Especially among my female friends I felt a serious and implicit tension when talking about moving towards 30. “On the other side” they said, like imagining turning 30 was the same as imagining a life after death.
“Don’t talk about it”, they said, when I asked if they were looking forward to their birthday. After that came a list of things that they had not yet achieved in their 12 years as an official adult. 12 years. It’s not so much when I put it like that, right?
I started trying to cheer up the best I could. “You know, you will get your super powers when you turn 30”, I said. It didn’t seem to help much.
So I decided to start documenting all the women I knew who were 29. And friends of friends.
I wrote an ad in a local newsletter searching for women who were 29 and wanted to be a part of the project. I got a lot of replies. A lot!
I started to research a bit. Was it just something in my mind? Were my friends all crazy and dissatisfied. I found that an American study* had been made on the subject. Here women in age groups from 20 to 80 was interviewed about their general happiness. The outcome of the study was, among other things, that women around 30 feels significantly less happy than in any other age group.
Among my friends and the women that I have talked to there is a general feeling of a change coming, a waiting position in their lives, from which they dont really know what to expect or what to prepare or wait for. In Cairo I talked to a 29 year old woman, Diana, who said: “the women of our generation feels a pressure from society and earlier generations to have achieved specific things before 30, which makes us feel dissatisfied with the things we have already accomplished”.
I Am Twentynine is about showing that life can be led in many different ways. I don’t think we are supposed to accomplish exactly the same, or in the exact same order. And I think that by 30 life has actually just begun. Both for men and women.
There is no normal. We create our own normal.
Are you 29 and do you want to take part?
If you are female, 29 years old and interested in being photographed for the blog, I would love to hear from you. Please email me or use the form below.
*R. Kessler et al: The relationship between age and depressive symptoms in two national surveys. Psychology and ging, vol. 7, 1992, 119-126.