The idea behind Dear Photograph has always been pretty simple, but the timeless and emotional stories behind each photo submission have created something nearly incomparable to anything else that can be found on the web.
People from around the world have widely embraced the visually appealing Internet phenomenon over the past year since its first introduction. The blog is entirely comprised of photo submissions from people sharing their own personal stories.
Anyone can make a submission and contribute to the Dear Photograph blog just by snapping a photo of an older photo held up in front of its original setting. A short, descriptive caption should be included with each submission.
On May 8, the Dear Photograph hardcover print version was released, which can be purchased through Amazon, Indigo or Harper Collins Canada. The book features 140 never before seen submissions along with an addition 60 photos previously seen on the Dear Photograph blog.
While many submissions tell tales of warm memories and laughter, others highlight the emotional stories of lost loved ones and tragic reminders. A photograph submitted by Mark Yokoyama features a grim then-and-now representation of the September 11 attacks. His caption reads: “I was astounded, but I hadn’t had time to consider what I was seeing.”
“It’s a mix of nostalgia and also the emotional connection that humans have with each other," said Taylor Jones, founder of Dear Photograph. Jones admitted that he never dreamed the blog would attract so much attention in such a short amount of time. “Pretty much after a few days, I knew it was something special.”
The 22 year-old from Kitchener, Ontario started the blog about eleven months ago, right after he spent some time flipping through an old family photo album. One particular photograph of his three year-old brother prompted him to take the old photo and hold it up in front of the same location so that it lined up accurately enough to match the exact setting.
After positioning a few more old photographs directly over its same physical setting and using a camera to snap new photos to capture the unique visual perspective, Jones decided to upload them to a Tumblr blog. Days later, it had gone viral. He later named it Dear Photograph.
The popular blog was quickly picked up by major sites like Mashable and Reddit, which helped propel it even further to Internet stardom. As of January 2012, the blog had racked up over 10 million hits and now sees over 20,000 hits daily. Time Magazine also featured Dear Photograph on its list of the 50 best websites of 2011.
Jones announced the release of his new book on Dear Photograph this Tuesday along with a note of thanks to all who took the time to make a submission and to all that read the blog.
“I can tell you that it was not an easy task to select the final 200-plus pictures for the book!” Jones wrote in a Tuesday blog post on DearPhotograph.com. “I’m thrilled to announce that Dear Photograph, the book, is now available in bookstores today, May 8, throughout North America. I hope you all will enjoy turning each page and take a little journey of your own with each and every photograph just as I have.”