Dear Photograph: Nostalgic Past and Present Photos Tell Many Stories

Dear Photograph nostalgic photos
Dear Photograph pics often relay simpler times

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.

  • Simpler times 1 of 19
    Simpler times
    "Dear Photograph, Where are the days when I could let myself enjoy the smallest of things with so much ease? I really miss that. Federico"
  • Little boy dreams 2 of 19
    Little boy dreams
    "Dear Photograph, New Year's resolutions and 30 years gone by…what was that little boy inside of me thinking about so long ago? I hope I never quit chasing that little boy's dreams. It's what matters most. Scott"
  • Kid play 3 of 19
    Kid play
    "Dear Photograph, My brother and I back in time…when dinner and batman was all we cared about. Lauren"
  • Memories 4 of 19
    "Dear Photograph, My grandpa doesn't recognize me anymore, but he still smiles every time I show him this picture. I hope that deep inside he remembers how much I loved hanging out with him.. Love, Laura"
  • All grown up 5 of 19
    All grown up
    "Dear Photograph, My son hit a triple. He's all grown up now with 2 children and 1 on the way. Love Mom"
  • Snowsuit 6 of 19
    "Dear Photograph, It's been 50 years since I wore that snowsuit, and so much has changed. Yet in many ways, it feels like so little has…just the way it should be. Billy"
  • Missing you 7 of 19
    Missing you
    "Dear Photograph, I wish I could throw my arms around you and lean on you like old times. I miss my big brother. Maryam"
  • Reflection 8 of 19
    "Dear Photograph, Dad never took a picture of me, ever. Then I noticed his reflection in the glass. Happy Father's Day, Dad. Anonymous"
  • Getting older 9 of 19
    Getting older
    "Dear Photograph, It's not just the house that has gotten older… Janine"
  • Walks 10 of 19
    "Dear Photograph, Early morning walks together and my little boy, those moments will always make up the color in my life, and in my heart. Ladyjang"
  • Easy then, drama now 11 of 19
    Easy then, drama now
    "Dear Photograph, I miss those playful, tumble around days…now it's all drama. Gina"
  • Upward climb 12 of 19
    Upward climb
    "Dear Photograph, I'm forever grateful for my sister. She kept me from tumbling downward when my parents divorced. I wish I could go back to beanie babies and the days when finding happiness wasn't such an upward climb. You saved my life Sissy. Love, Robin"
  • Love 13 of 19
    "Dear Photograph, That's love. @mithical"
  • Leaves 14 of 19
    "Dear Photograph, It was the falling down and the burrowing into, a pile of crunchy leaves, that made you get up and go out and play. I need to go find me some of that…again. Rachel"
  • So close 15 of 19
    So close
    "Dear Photograph, Why did we watch tv so close? Simon"
  • Joys of youth 16 of 19
    Joys of youth
    "Dear Photograph, Why can't I feel all the color that Hallowe'en used to bring me? It's hard to see the magic through grown up glasses… Paisley"
  • Silly 17 of 19
    "Dear Photograph, Being silly has its advantages…you see things from a whole new perspective. I need to remember that little girl was me. Cui-Lyn"
  • Lovely 18 of 19
    "Dear Photograph, I'm so grateful that my mom was handpicked for me just like the flowers at her childhood home. She's perfect and lovely and loved. Love, Shaunie"
  • First day of school 19 of 19
    First day of school
    "Dear Photograph, Letting go of my mother's hand the first day of school was always the hardest. Liz"

Photos used with permission from Taylor Jones at


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