The more things change, the more they stay the same.
February 15, 2011 7:25 AM   Subscribe

Photographer Irna Werning's project, 'Back to the Future' recreates classic childhood snapshots 20-40 years later, using the same settings, subjects, and clothing. Zefrank's Young Me Now Me (previously) is a much more extensive crowdsourced version of the same concept. (via BB. One photo very slightly NSFW)
posted by schmod (15 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
This is really neat, thanks. Ze Frank is pretty much a total net positive for the internet.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:27 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh, I like these a lot. Thanks :-)
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 7:35 AM on February 15, 2011

I was very impressed at the level of skill this photographer showed in reproducing the feeling and appearance of the original photographs. Not always or often easy, from experience.

And the concept itself, though done many times and many ways, came out more clearly and compellingly because of this photographers technical strength.

Good work, glad to see it on MetaFilter.
posted by fake at 7:44 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's interesting to see how people age, how certain aspects of their features change and others remain the same. Some of the older faces look almost like enlarged versions of their younger selves but some of the others seem almost like two different people.
posted by tommasz at 7:48 AM on February 15, 2011

I think we burned out the flux capacitor on the Back to the Future link.
posted by Aizkolari at 7:52 AM on February 15, 2011

One of the things I like a lot about this is the amount of semi-hidden work that is present. I cannot imagine how much effort went into finding the right fabrics, angles, and poses in some of these. And here I can take three minutes and leaf through them and say "that's really cool".
posted by norm at 7:54 AM on February 15, 2011

I saw this yesterday and thought it was interesting, though I knew I'd seen it (similar things) on Metafilter multiple times. It's kind of played out. The good thing about the repeated instances of this is that now instead of looking at the people I start thinking about the other parts of the picture and ripple effects. In "FLO, MARIA & DOLORES IN 1979 & 201", I'm impressed that they found those same shirts. That had to have taken a while. Or I imagine the stories they were telling if they had them handmade because they were impossible to find "Yeah, check out this picture, we were kids and we're recreating it", and I imagine the people doing the garment making took that much extra care to replicate the pieces. In doing so, did that make them ponder their own progression, or their own growth?
posted by cashman at 8:02 AM on February 15, 2011

finding the right fabrics, angles, and poses

Seconded, or thirded, or fourthded... plus exact lighting/time of day, film focus/type/colour degradation and any set changes required to restore the background detail.

Most of these are so close as to tickle the brain with an uncanny valley hill.
posted by CynicalKnight at 8:29 AM on February 15, 2011

Yeah, particularly that one of the woman at the desk with the notebook and sweater - the sweater is a perfect match. For some reason that just felt improbable to me.
posted by fake at 9:15 AM on February 15, 2011

The "Back to the Future" site is much more powerful. A lot of the Zefrank ones barely make a pass at the concept of "then" vs. "now" Werning's photos make me think about how much those people saw & learned & did in between the taking of the two photos. Are their lives better or worse? Did they turn out the way they expected?
posted by bibbit at 9:22 AM on February 15, 2011

What bibbit said; my complaint in the original thread about the ZeFrank project was how annoyingly casual most people were about attention to detail, even not bothering to pose in the same relation to other objects or having no other connection besides "Oh- they're both wearing head phones".

These however, are such careful reproductions, including clothing, setting, pose, and photographic style that it forces us to ponder the decay of aging, and the sum of our own life experiences.
fake: Yeah, particularly that one of the woman at the desk with the notebook and sweater - the sweater is a perfect match. For some reason that just felt improbable to me.
Wait, I didn't see this picture, so I did a refresh, and there were pictures that hadn't been there before- but still not that one. I guess we're boingboing and metafiltering the site.
posted by hincandenza at 9:29 AM on February 15, 2011

Love the 'back to the future' link. Fantastic. I would have loved to read about the process that went behind creating the images...did the photographer figure out lensing information? Film type? Etc. Was the "aged" character of the photos done digitally? Really like this. Lots to think about.
posted by jnnla at 10:40 AM on February 15, 2011

It's in Coral Cache now. (Coral Link).

Ummmmm, yeah, the first link.
posted by Samizdata at 12:59 PM on February 15, 2011

My favorite is the one with the shoes. Such a great little detail.
posted by schmod at 1:32 PM on February 15, 2011

My favorite is the naked girl with the accordion, and the moxie of the woman who posed for the retake. Socially, she's no longer "allowed" to pose naked for purposes of her own innocent fun, the way she was when she was tiny. It has to have sexual connotations, because it's a Woman's Body, with breasts and all. But sure as a by-God, there she is, with the accordion and the scarf and the same joy as before.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:19 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

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