50 Times People Attempted To Recreate Their Photos From The Past And The Result Was Hilariously Wholesome (New Pics) Interview
If you're familiar with the infamous adage "History has a tendency to repeat itself", you must know that it is usually said with a negative connotation in mind. Humanity makes the same mistakes, the unpreparedness for global pandemics, and so on. But what if you could spin this proverb another way with the help of your camera?
The online community r/PastAndPresentPics does exactly that, gathering people who submit their recreated past and childhood pictures since 2012. From grown-ups snuggling on their parents' laps to mimicking cringe-worthy family portraits alongside their adult siblings, it's no surprise that this community is 77,000 users strong, with more and more joining each day.
That's why we've compiled a roster of the most imaginative and wholesome recreations from the r/PastAndPresentPics community to inspire you to join in the fun.
In recent years, recreating decades-old photos has become a popular trend on social media, with millions of people sharing their side-by-side comparisons. Remember the “I’m Just A Kid” challenge on TikTok that helped many of us not go insane when everyone was locked inside their homes? Good times. But why are we so eager to relive our past?
For many, it's a way to reconnect with happy memories from the bygone days. While there are no statistics to back this, we have a hunch that recreating vintage photos does make people feel happy and nostalgic, bringing back fond memories of family and friends. As we wrote earlier this week in a post about the positive effects of nostalgia: "It generates positive feelings, improves self-regard, and even enhances our bonds with others."
But it's not just about nostalgia. Recreating photos from the past can also be a fun way to show off creativity and humor. Or a way to reflect on the past retrospectively. "I think my own interest in the past has a lot to do with having grown up in a rural place. My hometown has hardly changed in the last 100 years, so I was constantly surrounded by traces of the past," Conor Nickerson, a Montreal-based photographer, who famously Photoshopped himself into his childhood photos from 1997-2005, told Bored Panda via email.
"Especially in a time when we're so divisive, it has been a really important reminder for myself that we all just start off as a child trying to make sense of the world, as cliché as it is to say."
Happy Father's Day
Nickerson, who since then started restoring and colorizing vintage photos ("To be able to see the world that your parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents knew, the way that they saw it, is really fascinating to me"), and making a brilliant video series called "A Conversation With Myself", where every once in a decade he'll chat to himself at different stages of his life, believes part of the charm in recreating photos lies in, well, nostalgia.
"There is also a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, and we're constantly inundated with information about how chaotic everything is. For many, childhood represents a much simpler time," he said. "I think people want to return to that simplicity now more than ever, and these kinds of photo or video challenges and projects provide a way to reconnect with that feeling."
72 Years Apart. Same House. Same Woman. Same Motorcycle
Of course, let's not forget the social media aspect. With platforms like Instagram and TikTok, people can easily share their recreations with others and receive instant feedback, which in turn can award them with dopamine. Or kindness and a sense of encouragement. "Reading the comments and messages that I've gotten in the years since sharing the project has been wonderful," Nickerson told of his "Childhood" series, which was so popular at the time that people wanted him to do that with their childhood photos.
However pleased Conor was with this, he declined, saying that "it's not really feasible to do as commissioned work, unfortunately." (He published a step-by-step tutorial on his YouTube channel showing viewers how to do it themselves, instead.)
Bronson Pinchot And His “Cousin” Mark Linn-Baker, 1986 And 2017
Today vs. 66 Years Ago. I Am 84 Now
If there's one place, or community, on the internet that gathers all photo re-enactment enthusiasts, no matter if there's a viral challenge on the loose or not, it must be r/PastAndPresentPics. Created by u/NateTrib 11 years ago, in 2012, the subreddit today is 77,000 members strong. "I saw a cool recreated childhood photo, looked for a subreddit for it because I love those kinds of photos," u/NateTrib told Bored Panda. "I couldn't find one so I decided to start one!"
A Cowboy And His Tree At 4 And 63 Years Old
My Granddad And His Wheels, ~1950 & 2020
While recreating childhood photos might seem pretty easy at first, there are actually many things to consider. First, u/NateTrib tells us, "Take some time to study your past photo. The more you try to nail all the different aspects of the past photo in your recreation, the more people will love it!" Here's what u/NateTrib's first attempt at this feat looked like, with people being amazed at the fact that his dad wore the exact same clothes as he did 20 years prior.
Clothing, it turns out, is one of the key elements that every recreationist pays great attention to. As Nickerson explained about his own methods, "I gathered all the old hats and t-shirts that I could find and did my best to put myself into those moments."
Of course, for most of us, finding our childhood garments may require a time machine. Or a very skilled (and very expensive) tailor. In that case, the r/PastAndPresentPics community's founder recommends "buying similar-looking clothing from a store that has a chill return policy." And if the place the photo was taken has vanished from the face of the Earth or unrecognizably changed? "Try to find at least a similar background," we were told.
The Tonight Show Recreation Pic
My husband and brothers-in-law are the first surviving all-male quintuplets in the US. They were on the Tonight Show.
My Pop And His Mama!
Surprisingly, even some celebrities were eager to give it a shot. One of the most memorable recreations was by Katherine Heigl, the American actress most notable for her role in Grey's Anatomy, and her husband Josh Kelley. The couple marked their 10th wedding anniversary by recreating a quirky photo, inspired by Wes Anderson's "The Royal Tenenbaums", which they had taken 12 years prior.
The side-by-side comparison of the two photos shows how the couple has changed over the years, while still capturing the spirit of the original photo. Cute! Besides Katherine and Josh, Will Smith, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Sheen and many others have participated in the fun.
The Same Expression In November 2008 vs. November 2022
Skyscraper Sitting, 1932 vs. Today
Chicago local #1 Iron Workers remake the iconic “Lunch atop a Skyscraper”photo that was originally captured in 1932.
1968 To 2018.
My Sisters And I Recreated A Photo At The Same Beach In Hawaii (1991-2022)
Grandkids In 1994 vs. 2022
My Nanny & Papa (Center) & Fam In 1951 & 2003
My Doggy, First Night With Us As A Puppy, And 7yrs Later - Same Bed
Zed & Sweetchuck. Bobcat Goldthwait And Tim Kazurinsky, The Cast Of The Movie Police Academy Still Doing It In 2021.
Me And My Siblings Recreated This For My Parents As A Gift For Their 50th Anniversary. 1985-2019
Throwback Thursday, 1991 -> 2021, Back At The House I Grew Up In (Queens, NY)
Same Beach In La Jolla, April 1984/April 2014, Exactly 30 Years Apart.
Me In The Same Tshirt At 22, 32 And 42
Mike Gordon (From The Band Phish) With His Mom 1993 vs. 2022. He Posted This To His Fb Page Today.
At My Desk Hardly Working, 1992-2019
Each Time We Play A Hometown Gig We Take A Backstage Photo. This Is Us (Glaston) Throughout The Years.
We Recreated A Childhood Photo… From Blue’s Clues Birthday Party To 20 Years Later At Thanksgiving!
Me In My Parents Backyard Less Than A Year After We Moved In And Me Almost 30 Years Later When They Sold The House
Tim Burton's Halloween Costume, 1967 And 2017
When The My Little Brother Was Just Born vs. Now. 13 Years Between Us.
Armatron 1982 And 2022
Recreated this pic of my wife’s sister and dad. What lovely in-laws to indulge me while in a Christmas dinner food coma.