A Step Back in Time with Melanie Anderson

A Step Back in Time with Melanie Anderson

A Step Back in Time with Melanie Anderson

 

Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the December issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.

 

On a recent trip to Italy with my daughter Sarah, we were walking the streets of Venice when I was reminded of honeymoon photos I had seen of my parents that they shot more than 45 years ago. I contacted my parents and asked if they knew where those pictures were and if they could send me a few. I was thinking how neat it would be to visit some of the same places they did on their honeymoon.

 

My dad sent me several images, two specifically that I decided would be fun to reenact. It was quite an emotional experience, knowing I was in the exact spot my parents were at almost half a century before, and here I was now, enjoying the city with my eldest daughter.

 

It took only moments to figure out the first location, the corner of the Piazza San Marco, in front of Saint Mark’s Basilica. I positioned myself in the far left corner with the building visible from behind. We found this challenging since the buildings had been painted and updated, but we were sure this was the location.

 

The pose was another story: ensuring the shoulders and chin were angled the same, trying to duplicate the expression, etc. It took us 40 images and 30 minutes to get just the right look. You will notice the original pic of my dad has a sepia tone. I had a difficult time finding just the right tonality. After many attempts, I decided to just convert the image to black and white, and found just the right look for the feeling I was attempting.

 

Heading into Florence, we encountered the same challenges. This picture was captured at the Piazzale Michelangelo, overlooking the beautiful landscape, views of the Cathedral, the Bell Tower, and more. You will notice that the background in my dad’s picture looks closer to him. I had a terrible time with that. In the end, we decided it must have been due to the lens he used at the time, as the iPhone was unable to achieve the exact same look and feel and the distance to the buildings in the background.

 

Equipment

 

My dad used a 35mm Nikon Reflex with Kodachrome 35mm film. I used my iPhone 6. Yes, I know, Melanie, how could you? You used your cell phone to recreate an image from over 45 years ago? Why, yes, I did. When traveling, I find that my phone captures incredible images, many of which have been published in this magazine and won several print competitions. Today’s technology allows me to create on the fly. I like to travel light and use apps to edit my artistic vision quickly. The editing apps I used for this project were Snapseed, Picfx and Mextures.

 

The photos here of my dad in Italy were taken with his iPhone. He opened up the album and captured them and texted them to me. It’s ironic that he took a printed picture from an album that is over 45 years old, captured the moment with his iPhone and sent it to me from Maryland to Italy. Digital technology has come a long way. I didn’t even think about attempting this project until I was already in Venice and felt nostalgic knowing I had seen an album 20 years before, and felt compelled to recreate a moment in time.

 

Importance of Printing

 

Imagine if my parents hadn’t printed these pictures. When I asked Dad for copies, he said he didn’t have many, that it was expensive to print and they didn’t have the money at the time, so they did not capture and print as often as they would have liked. I’m so grateful for the ones they did print. I would not have had the emotional connection I have now to Italy. Having seen these images when I was a child, and then being there, was a flashback moment for me. It wasn’t until we were in Venice that I remembered seeing images of them from Italy from so many years ago. The impact of them actually being printed and placed in an album affected me some 45 years later. This makes me want to go back through old albums and see what else I can recreate.

 

How different our process is now: We capture everything, everywhere, anytime via our phones, and upload immediately to social media. We have thousands of images in digital albums online. So many memories captured, yet none printed. This experience has changed me. This was a reminder to capture and actually print images from my travels. I want my children and grandchildren to know me through photos, by having them actually printed and in an album. It’s an opportunity to share an experience that I doubt would happen if all these images and experiences were shared only online.

 

When people ask how my trip was, these are some of the first images I show them. I am so glad I took the time away from site-seeing to take a step back in time and relive a moment and location that my parents enjoyed so many years ago.

 

Action Plans:

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  • Find old photos of your family, and recreate them.
  • Print and create an album of your travels.

Share these experiences with loved ones.

 

Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the December issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.

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A Step Back in Time with Melanie Anderson

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