Your ancestors help make you who you are today, and they tell the story of your past. Even those that passed long before you were born possessed many similarities to you. Just ask Los Angeles based photographer and stylist Christine McConnell.
Christine recently realized just how much she had in common with her ancestors after embarking on a journey into the past, learning more about her great grandmothers going back 200 years. Christine utilized a number of her artistic talents to recreate old photos of her ancestors, and she plays the role of each family member quite well! Check out the results of her awesome recreation project below.
Christine McConnell, born 1981
Christine McConnell describes her childhood home as a “spooky old house filled with pictures.” Of all the photos that dotted the walls of her home, one photo in particular always captured her attention. It was a photo of an older woman wearing a blank expression on her face, her hair parted tight down the center.
As a young child, Christine would look at the photo and find it creepy. As she got older she continued to study the face starring back at her, and then one day she started to see something new. The blank, tired face actually looked a lot like Christine, in ways she had never before realized.
Martha, Christine’s great-great-great-grandmother born in 1821 and Christine
When Christine turned 32 her mother gave her a dress that looked very familiar. It was the same dress her mother wore in an old photo that had always hung in the stairwell, taken when she was also 32.
Christine was excited to see the dress in person and slipped it on right away, pleased to find the dress fit really well. And that’s what sparked the idea to recreate old photos of her ancestors, starting with the photo of her mom wearing the dress she now held in her hands.
Jane, Christine’s great-great-grandmother born 1858 and Christine
Even though Christine’s parent’s house is filled with photos, she took her search a step further raiding her mom’s scarp books from over the years. She paired her photo gazing with plenty of questions regarding names, birth dates, and pictures of every great grandmother going back 200 years.
It took a number of weeks to collect the information and plan for the photo shoots, as Christine worked hard to get the recreation of clothes and lighting as close as possible. In order to get all of the props that she needed she even sewed a few of the pieces herself. She also painted some imagery to give off a more authentic look.
Attie Mae, Christine’s great-grandmother born in 1898 and Christine
Christine reflects on those first moments looking at her completed work, “When I finished I was amazed that in each picture I saw different features of my own face in these women.”
Mildred, Christine’s Grandmother and Christine
We are a recreation of the ancestors that came before us, we have pieces of their genetic DNA pulsing through our bodies, telling us how to act, where to gain weight, and how to smile. An old black and white photo showcasing a blank, unsmiling stare might not remind you of the man or woman in the mirror, but if you look close enough at those old yellowed photographs you are sure to see traits of your own starring right back.
Kathryn, Christine’s mother born in 1957 and Christine
Here is the fun red dress that started it all!
Christine writes on Bored Panda, “I’m not without a sense of humor!” Just after posting her next recreation. This one of her “future daughter Trigger” the thoroughbred horse!