(c) Ken Osborn 2012
I recently joined a photography Meetup that convenes every two weeks to critique a photography challenge (http://www.meetup.com/Tinkering-Toms-and-Tammys-Photography-Group/). The challenge for our second meetup was to capture a progression or stages of time, like the metamorphosis of a butterfly, frying an egg, or changes of the seasons.
I decided to assemble a progression in time with two photos I already had and were separated by several decades. In fact I was not the photographer. A few years ago I assembled a rather large collection of family photographs dating to 1889. Some were still in excellent condition, but many showed the toll of time. Months of work were required to restore many badly faded, mildewed, and otherwise noticeably aged prints. There were two photographs that stood out: a great aunt-in-law, Anna Elizabeth Bell Graham, as a young woman and again in her late years showing a remarkable conformity. While she had obviously aged, the shape and structure of her face was relatively unchanged and her presentation to the camera was the same in both photographs.
I had some prior experience merging photographs of relatives to show the similarities and differences to others in the family, but had not previously seen such a judicious combination. So I decided these photographs of Anna Bell would be assembled into a progression of time for the Meetup photography challenge.
Anna Bell was born Jan 30, 1884 Anna Elizabeth Bell in West Shokan, NY. The photograph below shows her at the age of five with her younger brother Charles. Fortunately it was the practice of past generations to write information, in pencil, on the back of family photos. That practice is seldom practiced today.
When Anna's family moved to Illinois, she grew up in a rural setting surrounded by farmland.
A photograph of Anna as a young woman in her late teens.
A photograph of Anna in her late years.
Using these two photographs and Photoshop, I created a sequence of five images showing how she might have looked over the intervening years.
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I did not know Anna Bell, but I leave one other photograph that has no information on the back and none of my in-laws know exactly when the photograph was made, but it is visibly neither when she was in her youth nor old age. You can judge for yourself whether the sequence above has recaptured Anna Bell in the intervening years.