I often look at old people and wonder what kind of lives they led as young adults. I wonder what goes on in their minds when they look at other people, when they look at the world, when they look at celebrities doing stupid things and wasting away their young, rich, famous lives. Then I start to wonder how I would think and feel once I reach that age.

So when I saw this meme about an “insight into the former lives of senior citizens” on a friend’s FaceBook timeline today, it really struck a chord with me. The meme featured photos of senior citizens looking into the mirror…then seeing younger versions of themselves stare back at them. The resulting images are poignant and not creepy in the least.

The Singer

As I stared at each and every photo, I felt goosebumps come all over me.

The Fireman

The pictures moved me so much that I went on to Google up the photographer, Tom Hussey. It turns out that the senior citizens in the photos are actually actors but they drive home the message all the same. The series of pictures was shot for an ad campaign for an Alzheimer’s drug, that ran in the 2010 Communication Arts Photography Annual.

The Nurse

A total of 19 actors were used for the shoot. They cast two people for each part — an older “Patient” and then another actor to look like the patient 40 years earlier in their lifetime.

The Scientist

Tom Hussey shot the older and younger versions separately then did some post-processing to combine the two images. The results are nothing short of amazing and thought-provoking.

The Graduate

Apparently, the ad campaign was based on a portfolio shoot that he did earlier in his career:-

Here is the explanation in his owns words about how he got the idea for the photo:-

“I was talking with a WWII veteran, Gardner, about his life experiences. He was about to have his 80th birthday. He commented that he didn’t understand how he could be 80 years old as he felt he was still a young man. He just didn’t feel it was possible he could be 80 years old. I started thinking about a milestone age approaching for me, as I was nearing 40. I realized that everyone thinks of themselves at a certain age or time in life. I built a bathroom set and photographed Gardner staring into his bathroom mirror and seeing himself as a 25-year-old young man.” (NB: Bold and italics mine)

Odd that he should mention that “everyone thinks of themselves at a certain age or time in life” because that is EXACTLY how I feel. I just turned another year older yesterday but in my heart, I still feel like a care-free 24 year-old — young enough to still see the world with wonder and amazement…yet old enough to know better.

All images in this article © Tom Hussey.

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