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Got some really sweet childhood photos you treasure? Love the muted 70s and 80s colours – the nostalgic memories they evoke? The outfits you wore — or didn’t? What if you recreated those moments with your adult self?

Argentinian photographer Irina Werning did just that.

The very first photograph she made was of her brother Nico with his childhood skateboard (she took the original 1986 picture as well). Next were her neighbours, and she moved on to friends and family and eventually strangers in her hometown Buenos Aires.

What she does so brilliantly is pay incredible attention to the visual details of every picture: when her neighbour approached her to recreate this photo with her two sisters, Werning phoned up the grandmother who had made the costumes, and asked her about the materials she used. She then recreated the costumes from scratch.

Werning pays attention to not only the clothes and hairstyles but the facial expressions, which she gently coaxes from her subjects. This works so wonderfully in conveying relationships – between parent and child, between siblings — or between husbands and wives: her parents are pictured below.

It’s not just a gag with Werning: she is really moved by some element of the photo she chooses to recreate, whether it’s the situation or pose or the expressions. She stays true to the moment, and enjoys the imperfections and the process just as much. (We’re reminded also of this project by Finnish artist Wilma Hurskainen.)

Since the early shots with friends and family, she has taken the project to Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Amsterdam and throughout Europe.

She gained immense, viral notoriety with the first phase of the project, although that didn’t translate directly to cash: she still works on a very tight budget. Her photos have illustrated a New York magazine essay on high school and, most notably, comprise the visuals for Feist’s video for ‘Bittersweet Memories’.

For the next phase of her project, Werning is turning her lens to subjects in Korea, Taiwan and Japan — and she is currently seeking subjects with childhood pictures from Jamaica.

For an intimate glimpse into her process, listen to the NPR interview below.


UPDATE: Here is a new film about Werning, broadcast this spring on BBC Channel 4 Documentary Series.

Back To The Future from Jamie Jessett.

And CLICK HERE to see some of the latest photographs in Irina Werning’s series.


Wonderful, no? We think this is a great family tradition that everyone should try. If you do, send us the results and we’ll post them here. (This is my favourite photo from my childhood in London, UK)

Childhood Photos - photo by Mary McCarthy (c) 1975


(I’ve just written an email to my incredible, superhuman babysitter Mary McCarthy to find out who these two boys are, who I only vaguely remember and whose names I’ve sadly forgotten. This might take some doing.)

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