Forward to the Beginning Photography

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Back to the beginning, back to the future, back to the past, from the beginning or forward to the beginning. This project goes by several names and they all refer to the theme of recreating images of subjects as they were and as they are today. However the most commonly used name is back to the past.

The theme is to use two models; one adult and one child / one older and one younger. Both are dressed and posed in identical or as identical situations as possible, photographed and shown side by side.

The technique is quite similar to taking a photo of a child and doing an age progression image. The images should be taken in the exact same location, with the exact same clothing and in an identical pose, facial features and so on. Pretend that you are photographing twins but one is younger than the other.

This photo challenge, and it is a true challenge, can be done with plants like a seedling and a grown specimen photographed in the exact same position or pot, with animals; a baby and an adult. But it is specifically suited for people since they can be dressed in identical outfits and the effects are more pronounced and noticeable. Other subjects can be antique things and how they have evolved into modern styles.

A good situation to involve oneself with is to recreate how an adult looked like when he or she was as a child. Images of younger days should be used as props and and visual aids but they are not necessary. Poses can be done that involve an act then and now such as when doing a hobby, bike riding, when in school, when on vacation.

This technique has two main variations one simpler to perform than the other. The first is to take two images in the present without the aid of old images and just accommodating all elements to be the same, this is off course easier.

The other technique or variation is to use an old sample like an old snap shot. Obtain an older photo and try matching the present day image and scene to look like the old image and scene. This is a little more difficult since if the image from the past was shot in a medium that has since degraded, the same degradation has to be recreated in the modern sample, thus in most instances requiring the use of a digital editing software such as Photoshop.

A third variation, although it's closer to a different technique than the one described here, is to take and image from the past taken at a particular location and superimposing it in a present day photograph of the same identical scene.

This technique is useful in recreating old memories, also useful for wedding anniversary shoots, plain fun and personal photography.

Color although being the medium of choice for most photo captures is not a strict necessity. You can use monochromatic mediums with the same effect, specially if you are using an old black & white sample.

A popular topic is to use a photograph of one and a parent taken long ago and then recreate the entire scene in the present and continue doing so with every consecutive generation so that a photographic record of the family is thus recorded and preserved for history.

A very good technique that can be easily applied is to simulate a "reflection" in the present day and in the past occurring at the same time. Two models are dressed in identical clothing, one subject, usually the older, is seated or stands at an angle that reflects her image on the mirror, the second subject is also seated or standing in an almost identical position and mimicking the pose and gestures of the older model.

There is no need for a digital solution, if you carefully arrange your two subjects and shoot at a slight lower position both images can be recorded simultaneously but your angle will record the image of the older subject and it will capture the reflection of the younger subject at the same time in the same frame. This is done with a carefully planned perspective and angled views relative to the subjects and the photographer. It usually requires that one subject "the reflection" be some distance away from the mirror and at a 45 degree angle to it.

Family gatherings during the holidays, family reunions, special times, the birth of a child are also very popular subjects to apply towards this theme and this technique is also very popular at parties and other special occasions.

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© 2011 Luis E Gonzalez

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Comments 12 comments

Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

Tracy Lynn Conway 5 years ago from Virginia, USA

What a fun idea for taking photos! Another great photography hub from you.


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

Tracy Lynn Conway: Thank you, yes it is a fun project


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 5 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

Luis your photography is awesome! Particularly the one in the mirror - it is so poignant. I will read your hubs with great enthusiasm.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Another fascinating subject! I love the examples.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

Luis I like the theme here. I always wondered about it. How do they get the photos to look alike when one was taken years ago? Now I know.

I am thinking of getting a semi-pro camera for Christmas so I can do some of the techniques you have been teaching us.


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

Cardisa: Just have fun and you only need a camera with about 4 to 6 megapixles. The key is to be able to interchange lenses


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

Maralesa: Thank you, glad you enjoyed it.


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

randomcreative: Thank you..always good to hear from you


Lynn S. Murphy 5 years ago

This is amazing. And I love the idea of it. Another item on my list! Thanks Luis!


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

Lynn my darling ,where have you been?...I miss your daily comments, anyway thanks


Lynn S. Murphy 5 years ago

AWWW I've been there voting up and awesome. Just being stealthy because the ole brain is chillin'


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

Lynn S Murphy...lol thank but don't chill out for too long..I miss your sense of humor and comments

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