Paul Melcher's selection
Family photographs can be your best friends. Or, if not your best, your oldest. They stick with you through hard and good times, remain poised about your lifestyle and constitute part of your memory even when you don't remember. They stand small and proud, on some curving photographic paper, declaring for all to see what used to be that will never happen again. They are mostly quiet and yet seem to be most talkative to those that are in the picture, like a Dorian Gray mirror, refusing to age with time. We keep them in frames or in books, we share them, or not, with those who we timidly invite into our lives, like a key to an unforgiving past. They are part of the puzzle that is who we are and can make us smile, cry, regret and longer all at the same time. They are always part of our present, traveling with us through time, while remaining deeply anchored in our past. What they are not, however, is a dialogue.
The site , dear photograph, is a remedy. It is an occasion to talk back to our pictures, to our past, by taking an image of our childhood and inserting it to the present. It is everyone's chance to reconnect to an image that has hunted us for so long and include it into a new photograph. It is a shrine to those moments that have lead to the present and a chance to close that loop. If it wasn't for that instant, in the past, I would be here, in the present.
The principle is simple. Take a photograph taken years ago and reinsert it into the present, framing it in such a way that all the lines fit. As if you were holding an open window into the past. Write a little caption, starting with dear photograph, as if you were writing a letter to that image, and post it on the site.
The result is a charming array of snapshots telling the lives of strangers as they reconnect with a moment of their past and make a connection with their present. It is a series of small love letters written to a friend telling them how much things have change since the last time we took a photograph together. It is hundreds of messages in a bottle from thousand of unfamiliar strangers who throw lifelines to each other via their reunited past and present. Finally, it is a tribute photography itself and how it impacts our lives even if it doesn't mean to do so.