The Effects of Time: A Before and After Series

the effects of time before and after pictures

Some people look different in photos and in person. Even if the portrait was only taken a few months ago, the person may look a lot different now whether it’s because of better skin, shorter hair, a new fringe, a different shade of lipstick, sparser eyebrows, wrinkles around the eyes or more facial hair. We are constantly changing and developing, and while those physical changes may be mostly unnoticeable from day-to-day, there’s no escaping the more obvious comparison in photos. Identities is a series created by London-based photographer Ana Oliveira which highlights the effects time has on a person’s appearance in portraits.

Each diptych consists of a ‘before’ image taken as far back as 60 years. The ‘after’ part is a more recent portrait of the same person in the same pose and similar clothing and accessories. A few people have commented that these comparative shots have a depressing undertone to them because the subjects appear older and more wrinkly, but I couldn’t disagree more. In fact, I wish I could age just as gracefully as some of these people.

man in before and after series

woman pictured in portraits taken decades apart

I found the hairstyles in these portraits the most interesting. Some of them are very different from the original, but the ‘afters’ look almost exactly the same. I wonder if they cut and styled the hair that way on purpose to match the ‘before’ portraits, or they really ended up with the exact same hairstyle decades after (but with lighter, grayish hair of course).

portraits of a man before and after before and after portrait of woman

Oliveira also created another Identities series with the same theme. In this set, she created before and after pictures of the effects of time, but incorporated some of the background elements in the original pictures as well.

lady pictured in same spot decades later

woman before and decades after portraits

Visit her profile on to see the complete series as well as Oliveira’s other works.

If you don’t want to wait to see how you’ll look in a few decades, there are a ton of apps that morph your face into its older version based on the apps algorithms. They’re obviously not meant to be taken seriously because only time will tell how well we age, but it’s still good fun.

Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.