The act of preserving photographs and tracking the progress of time is shifting. With apps like TimeHop and Instagram allowing us to meticulously archive the past and jump back into it at the click of a button, accessing images of yesteryear is convenient and instantaneous. No more digging through photo boxes in Grandma’s attic, our photos are now archived on portable devices for immediate access and broadcast.
Artist Chino Otsuka explores memory by doing more than posting nostalgic photos with a trendy hashtag or reminiscing over a dusty box of images - she actually places her adult self INTO photographs from her childhood. In the photography series Imagine Finding Me, Otsuka creates images of her adult self standing next to her childhood self. With expert manipulation, the photographer seamlessly inserts herself into the scene by matching the style of the original photo exactly. To the untrained eye, it is merely a photograph of two related people; the fact that they are the same person, decades apart, is only discerned by reading about her work.
Within the series of images, Otsuka varies the tone of her work. In some instances, the adult directly engages with the child, while in others the adult appears as a ghostly visit, watching over the child’s actions from a distance. The images are haunting and wistful, triggering strong emotions about the relationship between past and present.
While websites like Dear Photograph explore similar concepts, the personal narrative threading through Otsuka’s works make her autobiographical journey completely compelling. If you could “time hop” and spend a day in an old photograph, what scene would you choose and why?
I have a chance to meet,
there is so much I want to ask
and so much I want to tell”