The Inexorable March of Time In Portraits

“I like reminiscing with total strangers. Granted, it takes longer…”  Steven Wright

This past week, a remarkable collection of photographs began popping up online. A personal project of Argentinian photographer Irina Werning, her series recreates old photos with remarkable exactitude of look and feel, albeit with the models assuming their poses after twenty years or more have passed.  Entitled “Back to the Future”, this collection makes the remarkable passage of time visual with a wide variety of people.  And yet, despite their specificity of time and place, the content feels remarkably universal.Dennis Ryan, Chicago Advertising, Element 79

Dennis Ryan, Element 79, Chicago AdvertisingDennis Ryan, Element 79, Chicago Advertising

Even without knowing the portrait subjects, the viewer quickly feels a kinship, a familiarity. We all have books and boxes filled with just these types of photos of our younger selves with our younger friends and younger families.  In our mind’s eye we remember so many aspects of those moments–the feel of the air, the smell of freshly cut grass, the pride of the new shirt or fancy bike.  And so, even decades later, the people recreating their earlier selves do so with remarkable alacrity.

Take a moment and enjoy Irina’s work.  It is bittersweet, hilarious and provocative, all at the same time, because it is so deeply human.  A very clever project, this.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79


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