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Transitions: Portraits of a Decade Long Journey

July 17, 2017

The period of life between teenager to young adult is a critical time for young people; full of exploration, growth and change. There are an endless number of paths to travel, and whichever is chosen has the ability to shape who someone will become. A decade ago, did you think you would be where you are now?

Ten years ago, in 2005-2006, photographer Roger J. Wyan set out to document the first individuals as they began to journey through their formative years at the first research university built in the 21st century, UC Merced. In total 220 students, mostly freshmen, were photographed. A decade later, Wyan re-photographed and interviewed 38 of the original students. The goal? Find out where life has taken them.

Wyan describes Transitions as “a remarkable narrative of an influential time in young people’s lives;" it documents a period of life that sociologists call “emerging adulthood,” defined by exploration, instability, self-focus and optimism for the future. The exhibit sheds light on the process of coming of age that the youngest University of California campus and its student body have experienced together.

The exhibit consists of a series of black and white photographic portraits taken ten years apart and is currently being displayed at the Merced Multicultural Arts Center in downtown Merced until September 9, 2017. In September the exhibit will be moved to UC Merced and displayed in the Kolligian Library through December, 2017.