News and Trends

Yesterday Once More

There is perhaps nothing more emblematic of the persistence of memory than an old photograph. In the faded Kodachrome hues of an old family snapshot, or the gentle sepia shades of a vintage portrait are stirring reminders of how life used to be, of beauty once beheld, of a childhood that seemed to end too soon. You may not be able to recapture the past, but via Dear Photograph, a website created by a 22-year old Canadian, Taylor Jones, you can somehow revisit it. The idea behind the website was simple.  Take a picture with an older picture in front of it.   Same place, same setting, maybe even the same time of day. Post it online, captioned with a simple message, addressed to “Dear Photograph”. The photograph that started it all was one of Jones’ younger brother, now 18, on his third birthday, superimposed on the exact same table in the exact same kitchen of the house his family had lived in for over two decades. He took several other photos around the house and posted them on his website, with captions like: "Dear Photograph, Thanks for reminding me how easy it was to ice a cake when I was 4." "Dear Photograph, Bring back that swing." The photos struck a chord with the online community.  Three months and four million hits later, there are submissions from all over the world, although Jones only posts one a day. The captions are heartfelt and poignant, filled with nostalgia and longing, and most of all a deep, abiding love and gratitude for what once was, the families we grew up with, the homes that sheltered us. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Jones disclosed that his favourite picture is that of an elderly man looking at a bench. The old photo shows the same bench and the same man with his wife, who has since passed away.  The caption reads: "Dear Photograph, Thank you for everything we had." It makes you smile; it brings a tear to your eye. It’s life, in a snapshot.   Text and images: Bambina Olivares Wise   Captions: 1. Young Jones on the swing. 2. Jones' favourite photograph. 3. "Dear Photograph, Grandpa loved the outdoors. But he loved us more." 4. "Dear Photograph, I'll always have my parents to lean on."