The Dear Photograph website has quickly become a viral sensation, and with good reason.
The nostalgic photos bring to life both happy and sad memories, with a twist. An old photo is lined up with the same setting in the present, with a caption that relays the emotion or memory of the passage of time.
It’s that gap of time that often tells the story, however.
Taylor Jones got the idea for Dear Photograph while looking at old photos with his mother in Ontario. Jones tells The Guardian that he was struck by one photo of his brother at his third birthday party: “He was sitting in front of his Winnie the Pooh birthday cake. It was weird – because my brother was there, in the exact spot he was sitting in in the photograph.”
He lined up the old photo in the new setting, took the photo and posted six others on a blog. His Dear Photograph blog took off from there — it was named one of Time magazine’s 50 Best Websites of 2011 and now gets 20,000 hits a day.
Jones left his job as a social media specialist and has been working on a book inspired by the Dear Photograph site. There’s also some buzz about a film or TV project based on the site.
Jones only uploads one of 20 entries he receives a day, sharing, “The photo is usually chosen depending on [what's] going on around the world,” but, he notes, “it sometimes depends just on how I’m feeling. If I’m feeling great, I’m going to post a fun photo.”
The results are brilliant: nostalgia, regret, missing the old days and simpler times are all themes reflected in the short notes accompanying the often powerful photos.
Photos used with permission from Taylor Jones at DearPhotograph.com
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