Looking at this photo, it’s easy to think it’s a pretty ordinary snapshot, something pulled from an old family album.
You assume this is probably a kid posing for a pic with his older brother, right?
But they’re not relatives… they’re the same person, years apart!
They’re both Conor Nickerson, a photographer who recently dug up some old photos of his childhood growing up in Massachusetts—and realized they evoked a very distant past, one he wanted to feel a bit more in touch with.
That inspired an idea for an unforgettable photography project.
“While looking through some old family photos, I wondered what it would it look like if tried to Photoshop myself today into them,” he wrote.
Nickerson went into detail with his looks, trying to blend perfectly in with the past, with photos ranging from 1997 to 2005.
“I gathered all the old hats and t-shirts that I could find and did my best to put myself into childhood moments which, aside from these photos, remain only a distant memory.”
This wasn’t the first time Nickerson had dived into the past for a photography project. Last year, he created his “Then & Now” series, composite before-and-after photos of famous buildings from the early 20th century and today.
But doing a similar project with his own childhood was another beast entirely—as an event and portrait photographer primarily, the Photoshop-heavy project would be a challenge.
“I’ve never done any project like this before so there was a lot more work involved,” he told Mashable. “This most of all was a learning experience for me.”
But creating the series was a rewarding experience—both professionally and personally.
“The result was learning a lot about Photoshop, but also an amusing, strange, and surprisingly introspective collection of photos of myself hanging out with myself,” he wrote.
Nickerson blends so seamlessly in the photos that it’s almost eerie—one commenter on Reddit asked the artist if it was surreal to see himself hanging out with his own younger self.
“Editing the pictures and looking at them so closely for so long takes a bit away from the shock value,” Nickerson replied. “But seeing the final images all together definitely is a bit strange!”
“I feel like me and little me would have gotten along pretty alright.”
Indeed, Nickerson poses so casually with his past self that it does seem like the photos caught them bonding and having fun.
Seeing the photos not only helped Nickerson reconnected with his past, but also feel grateful for his happy upbringing.
“Looking at these times makes me feel fortunate that I had a good childhood,” Nickerson told TODAY Parents.
“I know it’s a privilege that not everybody gets growing up.”
It wasn’t just an eye-opener for Nickerson—it also affected his parents, who had their own surreal experience looking through his photo set.
“They thought it was pretty wild,” Nickerson told Today.
“It was emotional for them, too, because, as they put it, I grew up really fast.”
The series has gone viral, reaching the front page of Reddit. Many commenters wrote that the photos made them feel nostalgic for their own childhoods.
For those people looking to return to their childhoods, it turns out you can always go back—you just need some clever photography skills.