Do you ever think about meeting your future self? What about meeting yourself as a child? It’s a fantasy lots of us have. In a brilliant photo series, Japanese photographer Chino Otsuka makes this time-travel fantasy a reality by digitally splicing photographs of her current self into photographs of herself as a child. Titled Imagine Finding Me, the series is a poignant visualization of the passage of time.
“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,” Otsuka said in a statement about the project. The photos are seamlessly manipulated–at first glance, you’d never guess they’d been doctored.
Otsuka was born in Tokyo, but moved to London at age 10. The digital composites chronicle her international travel and hint at a nostalgic yearning for bygone days. In most of the images, the past and current Otsukas just hang out like old pals: In “1980 and 2009,” a grown-up Otsuka stands next to her proud young self and a pointy-headed snowman. In “1984 and 2005,” she sprawls on a bed at the Richmond Hotel in France next to herself as a sleepy child.
“If, again/I have a chance to meet/There is so much I want to ask/and so much I want to tell,” Otsuka writes in a brief poem that accompanies the series. We can still dream of time machines, but Otsuka suggests that a mix of imagination and recorded memories might be our best substitute until they’re invented.