The Dear Photograph project’s premise seems so elemental, it could easily transition into a mantra: “Take a picture of a picture from the past in the present.” Taylor Jones, the creator of Dear Photograph, is a 21-year-old Ontarian, who stumbled on the idea for this Tumblr when he was sitting at his family’s kitchen table, sifting through old photographs. He came across a shot of his brother, age 4, sitting in the exact same place at the exact same kitchen table as they sat now. He held up the faded memento, and snapped a new picture.
Photo by @mithical via Dear Photograph
Taylor accepts submissions for Dear Photograph via the Tumblr itself and Twitter. He tells me of the emotional connections he has made with his contributors, and how grateful the participants are for a reason to revisit their mothers, their playgrounds, their corner stores. I can only imagine the power of a global movement, encouraging the masses to return to their past, to confront their Polaroid memories.
Photo by @okfollowheather via Dear Photograph
When scrolling through Taylor’s site, I can’t help but wonder what this project would look like a generation from now. Taylor and his contributors find their rich archives in top-shelf shoe boxes and overstuffed albums. There was only that one shot, and you can finger its edges for decades. The final product rephotographs are digital by medium and venue, and appear to be one of a trigger-happy sequence, selected post-production for harmonious borders and shadows. When I ask Taylor what he feels about the analog vs. digital dialogue, he proudly shares that he’s in the midst of talks to turn Dear Photograph into a book, and I realize that the cycle will ever-enthusiastically persevere, in its own struggle for immortality.
How do photographs play into your own concept of time and memory?