Photography as a Time Machine

Even though I’m a poor chronicler of the past, there are a few family photos that are indelibly etched in my mind. What if I could take those photographs and re-create them?

Photographer Irina Werning has done just that. She has put together an amazing collection of recreated photographs, featuring the same people, but 10-20 years later. You can see her work here. This came to me via VSL (very short list), which sends a daily email with a link to something interesting on the web. About twice a month there is something that really catches my attention. I almost deleted today’s email without reading it because the subject line was “do the time warp again” and I was dreading news of some Rocky Horror remake.

I am totally fascinated by the photos, and by Werning’s attention to detail. The clothing, especially. I love her introductory quote, “by the way, this project made me realise I’m a bit obsessive…”

Immediately, three or photos came to mind that would be fabulous to recreate. One being nearly impossible, a picture of myself, my sister and our two cousins draped over 4 giant snowballs that we had rolled in our grandmother’s front yard. One being a picture of my parents and myself at my college graduation that I am already planning to recreate, but with a new cast of characters at daughter #1’s graduation this spring. So, not exactly the same concept, but still…. And a family Christmas picture from when the daughters were toddlers.  See if you can look at Werning’s website without being inspired to try it yourself.

All of which goes to prove that the father-in-law is just ahead of his time. When the husband was a boy, his parents took a trip to Rome, I believe it was the first time they had traveled together to Europe. Roughly 30 years later, they returned to Rome, visiting many of the classic sites again. Upon their return, the family was treated to a slide show of the trip. Really, the father-in-law did a pretty good job of putting together a nice chronicle of their vacation. But in an episode that will forever live in family lore, as he was narrating that on day x they went to visit the Coliseum, there was a slide of the Coliseum with cars from the 60’s in view. Calling this to his attention he claimed proudly that, “It hasn’t changed in 30 years, I saw no reason to take another picture, I just dug this slide out of the old slide show.” Hard to argue with him…

4 thoughts on “Photography as a Time Machine

  1. What about the pic I have up on my Facebook profile? I’ve gotten so many comments that it has really made me think about that first night away from home. Did you see the grip I have on your wrist?!

    • I can see that I’m going to become a thrift-store junkie looking for the right clothes and accessories – like those suitcases. The background would be near impossible, I’m sure that garage on Pleasant is long gone, or at least has a “real” garage door now. Getting those expressions right would be amazing!

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