These Models Were Photographed 14 Years Apart With The Same Lighting


What if you could see yourself in 14 years? Would you want to know what you look like? Urs Recher is a Switzerland-based photographer who recently pursued a personal project that fascinated me.

Back in 2002, he shot beautiful portraits of two models. This year, he shot the same models again with the exact same setup! The only thing that separates the shots is time.

That’s Vanessa above. Here’s Caroline:


I had to reach out to him and ask him a few questions and he kindly indulged me with the answers.

Tell me more about the project, how did it come about?

I started the project with Caroline.

The first time I booked her was in 2002, just for a test shoot on location; and I found her face just stunning. So I booked her again, this time “for real” in my studio for some portraits. One of these portraits is now shown in the time travel portraits.

In the following years, I booked her regularly (my portfolio is full of her) and I saw the slow transformation from a teen girl to a woman. So I asked her, if she would allow me to shoot her again – identically like 14 years ago.

With Vanessa it was very different. I shot her only once or twice in 2002.

Then, just when I was busy with “Time Travel Caroline”, Vanessa “found” me on Facebook and contacted me for the first time after 14 years. Of course I invited her immediately to the studio again.

Tell us more about the models!

Well, you certainly understand, that I cannot give their exact data. They are both Swiss, like me, but never worked too serious as models. Vanessa was only active for a few years, while Caroline was constantly busy shooting. But modelling was never a full time job for her either.

Caroline was actually a little too short to become a “normal” model, but I still think she has the most amazing face.

People are going to ask, what about the camera and the lighting?

The portraits are shot with digital medium format cameras. Only the resolution increased. The focal length used was 120mm.

The light was 100% the same.

Caroline: A 220 cm parabolic reflector (Broncolor Para). Black flags left and right of the face, the white background was far enough that no light effects it. 

Vanessa: Left and right of the face, small softboxes directed towards me. This creates the darker contours of the face. A beauty dish from below at very low power. A small white paper and a very little flash above the camera as fill-in lights.

Any final thoughts?

Personally I think, that I get more from non-professional models when working on such projects. Agency-models might be more experienced and easier to get “beautiful” pictures, but I doubt, that they would give me so much of themselves in a portrait series like this.

You can find more of Urs Recher’s work on his website and Instagram account.

About the author: Pratik Naik is a photo retoucher specializing in commercial and editorial work. To see his work, head over to his website or give him a follow on Instagram and Facebook. This post originally appeared here.