Have you ever wanted to step back a few years and reconnect with a younger self? Would it be amusing or just plain creepy?
In “Back to the Future” Irina Werning juxtaposes old photographs from people’s childhoods with detailed recreations. The result is a surreal, time-travelling carbon copy that captures a sense of the subject’s biography. Alarmingly detailed in props, image quality, colour balance and expressions, the portraits are at once nostalgic and charming, illustrating that – even with the effects of time – we are who we are; people change, but they don’t change.
Werning starts by meeting her subjects and choosing the old picture from boxes or albums, an image that speaks about them.
The first photograph in each pair features the participant(s) in childhood. The second is the first photograph re-enacted: the same person, in the same position, with identical (though somewhat larger) clothes, and wearing facial expressions matching the original. Irina Werning is a perfectionist – striving to reconstruct every detail, including the unique atmosphere of every photo, so that the only real change is that produced by the passage of time.
“Once the people I shoot get into the outfit they tend to go back into the moment straight away, usually getting very nostalgic and lots of times laughing at themselves and how they’ve changed.
I’ve had people cry as well, these memories are often very important for people and the picture has a huge story behind it and brings back all these feelings.”
Irina grew up in Buenos Aires. She has a BA in Economics and an MA in History. She began to travel in Asia and the Middle East and ended up in London where she took an MA in Photo Journalism and lived for seven years. She’s now back in Buenos Aires and focuses on personal long-term projects. She loves to build sets and invent stages for her subjects. She can spend hours in a tool shop.