When most people look at photographs from their past, they see a snapshot in time that jogs their memory and surfaces a range of emotions within the realm of nostalgia. With her project, “Imagine seeing me”, photographer Chino Otsuka instead sees an opportunity for time travel.
In a series of double self-portraits, Chino explores the relationship between time and memory by digitally manipulating images of herself as a grown up into photographs of herself as a child. It may sound like an optimistic project but the actual result is an eerie sense of lost time; neither the old nor young Chino looks particularly happy. Her longing to revisit the past and change the course of her own life is clear from the verse preceding the collection on her website:
I have a chance to meet,
There is so much I want to ask
and so much I want to tell”
Chino was born in Tokyo and moved to London when she was just 10. Her work often echoes the sense of displacement she experienced at this time. The original photographs were taken during her childhood in Japan and travels around Asia and Europe. She believes advances in digital photography have given her the chance to return to these times:
“The digital process becomes a tool, almost like a time machine, as I’m embarking on the journey to where I once belonged and at the same time becoming a tourist in my own history.”
Her simple but effective use of image manipulation has led to her work becoming popular online where she is known as, ‘The Time Travelling Photographer’.