Photography Trend: People Reenacting Photos from Their Childhood

“I know people who have a much better recollection of their childhood than I do. They remember very well when they were a year and a half and two years old. I’ve only one or two daguerreotypes that come to mind.” – Orson Wells

Nothing is quite as expressive as a photograph, and the older they are, the more expressive they get. We take photographs not so that we won’t forget, but so that we will remember. It’s about that beautiful feeling you get when, after completely forgetting something, you see a photograph by or of you, and it brings that memory surging back in to you mind, making it vivid all over again.

Technology plays a really important part in our reminiscing. Think of the low fidelity cameras used to take pictures in the 80’s and 90’s, or the black and white ones used in our grandparents days. Not to mention, if you are lucky enough, your great-great-grandparents pictures, the daguerreotypes Orson Wells is talking about in that quote up there.

The first reliably documented picture of another human being is a daguerreotype, and even though the two people accidentally photographed are nothing more than two small, blurry, black smudges, the photograph still seems to have a lot of impact. We think of those times, in the way the photographs portray them. When you think of your childhood, you see it in the colors the camera captured.

Instagram has popularized the vintage look again, and this led to the appearance of a new trend, namely the reenacting of childhood photos. People from across the globe are taking their photo albums, and selecting their favorite photographs to reenact them now, and the results are funny, sweet and, at times, bittersweet. These photos are a stunning look into how time changes us. Sometimes a lot, sometimes almost not at all.

Two such projects are “Back to The Future”, undertaken by Irina Werning; and “Young Me/Now Me” by Ze Frank.

Irina Werning’s project started the trend. Her approach is a lot more hands on, the reenactments being done by herself and the people that send her the pictures. As a result, the pictures are virtually indistinguishable from one another, aside from the fact that the people in the new photos are considerably older.

“Young Me/Now Me”, on the other hand, lets people take the photos themselves. Ze Frank then picks his favorites and publishes them on his website. This led to tones of people taking such pictures, and thus a photography trend was born.

First we’ll be taking a look at “Back to The Future”. You’ve probably already seen some of the pictures we are about to show you, seeing as this project so very influential. It holds some of, if not the best reenactments you’ll see, and it’s easy to understand why this kind of thing has become so popular.

1. Fer 1970 & 2010


Image source

You could swear that these pictures were all taken in the same time, but they’re actually taken 40 years apart. This is where Irina Werning really shines, making the photographs look contemporary to one another, which makes them even more powerful.

2. My Parents 1970 & 2010


Image source

It’s almost like a “spot the difference” photo, here. If you don’t really pay attention, there’s almost no difference between the two pictures. The place looks practically the same, the people seemed to have hardly aged a bit, even some deterioration in the original photo (that’s the one on the right, in case you didn’t notice) has been somewhat reproduced in the new one.

3. Tommy 1977 & 2010


Image source

Grown men pulling baby faces is funny, it’s even funnier if they pull the precise baby face that they had in a baby picture. The newer photo is more in focus than the old one, but the composition is still essentially the same, and even the shadows appear to be in the right place.

4. Lea T 1995 & 2011


Image source

16 years and hardly any difference. The only real difference is at the eyebrows, where we can see that in the 2011 picture they are plucked. Other than that, the two photos are virtually identical, which makes looking at your own photos from 16 years ago a bit depressing.

5. Puna 2003 & 2011


Image source

That is the cutest little wiener-dog ever! It was going to be impossible to make Puna pose in the same way as she did when she was a new-born pup, so the differences are there for everyone to see, but that is completely besides the point because she is just too cute.

6. Sonia y Lauri 1988 & 2011


Image source

This is a truly spot-on reenactment of an old photo. Their pose, their close, everything. They even found a hood identical to the one Lori wore in the 1988 original photo. Now that’s dedication and attention to detail.

Now let’s take a look at Ze Frank’s “Young Me/Now Me”. As we’ve said, this solidified the trend of retaking childhood pictures, encouraging people to do it themselves. That means that there’s more pictures than we can count, and results vary in terms of “quality” of reenactment, so we’re going to show not necessarily the best ones, but some of the ones we think are pretty cool.

7. Young Me/Now Me


Image source

As far as amateur pictures go, this one is really good. All the main elements that are in the original picture are still there, and even the lighting and composition seem pretty good.

8. Young Me/Now Me


Image source

Since the people in the two photos kind of look nothing alike, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is a fake. But it is hard to think that there’s more than three people in the world who would buy those pants.

9. Young Me/Now Me


Image source

This is a real cool concept. Although only four years between the two photos, the change really is drastic and it’s weird thinking how sudden growth occurs.

10. Young Me/Now Me


Image source

The house in the background sure changed since the first picture was taken, but the people seem as lively and happy as ever. This is such a cute picture, and it must have been real good fun to go visit wherever that lovely place in the background is.

We really enjoy this trend, and we’d love it if you share you favorite reenactments (or maybe even your own) with us in the comment section below.


PIXEL77 Newsletter