Edward Mapplethorpe started his project, One: Sons And Daughters, more than 20 years ago, taking a simple black and white photo of a baby that just turned one. But he found out something that, as a dad, you already know — these tiny subjects were more than just blank-faced little cherubs.
“I discovered something quite remarkable — the photograph wasn’t a baby picture at all but rather a revealing portrait of a person who happened to have just turned one,” says Mapplethorpe in the book’s forward. Below are a few examples of more than 60 portraits that are in the book (including his son), and also includes essays by notable authors like New Yorker‘s Adam Gopnik and the poem”One” by his friend Patti Smith.
Each photo is titled with the date of birth, which both protects the kid’s anonymity and also highlights that being born is something everyone on Earth has in common. And if you thought to yourself, “Hey, I have a baby. I’d like a renowned photographer to take an artistic photo that doesn’t involve bearskin rugs, puppies, or awkwardly cramming them into a football helmet,” Mapplethorpe says he’s available.