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Back To The Future: Photos Blur The Line Between Kid and Adult

Irina Werning's Back To The Future PHoto Project
Irina Werning's Back To The Future Photo Project

Is there a photo of your child that seems to define who he is? Do you remember looking at photos of yourself as a kid, and thinking THIS IS ME? I definitely do. For me, it’s a picture of my sister and me, standing in the back yard. She’s a toddler, I’m a sulky looking four-or five year old, posing coyly, but looking world-wearily at the camera. The photo is faded, the clothes are dated, but it still feels as much like me as any image I’ve seen since.

Our fascination with retro photography has been fed by apps like Hipstamatic, which lets us infuse our slick digital images with ye olde distorted veneer.  Artist Irina Werning has always been into old photos, and sought them out with a self-acknowledged nosiness. So  she decided to recreate some of those iconic old-school moments…using the subjects of photos as adults, dressed as children.

The result is riveting and more than a little eerie.

Werning’s work plays with that urge to make something new into an instant heirloom, but it also plays with a lot of deeper ideas, like our desire to see into our kids’ futures,our kids’ obsession with seeing their parents as children, and our own urge to go back to childhood.

The images are funny, yes, but they don’t hit you over the head with humor—or at least there’s enough poignancy and tenderness and depth to balance it out. I could see how this project could appeal to some of the people who like the Awkward Family Photos series, but unlike those, Irina Werning’s work is not a one liner. It helps us see the adults inside our children, and the children inside ourselves.

See the whole Back To The Future series here.  It’s an ongoing project, so more photos may be posted as time goes on.

photo: Irina Werning

Article Posted 6 years Ago

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