American photographer Doug English recreates intimate portraits of young male models.

Written Rachel Fadem, CNN

A young man poses shirtless, wearing low-waisted jeans. His hands rest gracefully on his head, accentuating his ribs and the curve of his back as he looks deep into the camera.

Next to this portrait is another photograph of an elderly man in exactly the same position. He has a more serious expression and his body appears to be more muscular, with the tattoo running the length of his torso.

The man in both images is model Jacob Buchholz. He was 23 years old when the first photo was taken in 2004, and the second was taken 17 years later, around the time he turned 40.

The diptych is part of Doug English’s new photography series, “Then and Now,” in which he asked models to recreate portraits he took in the early 2000s. The resulting images juxtapose the subjects’ past and present selves, forcing viewers to reflect on the passage of time.

English reunited with former subjects such as model Jacob Buchholz (pictured) to recreate the portraits. Credit: Doug English

“With age comes a longing for the past,” English said. in phone interview. “There is a desire to recreate (the past) or just go back to where you were. But the truth is, when I think about it, I’m a much happier person today than I was then.”

Original images taken from an extensive archive of an American photographer show male models hoping to break into the fashion and entertainment industry. They were taken during test shoots to “help build the model’s portfolio,” he explained. “Model bookers would send guys over to my house for castings, and if I liked them and what they looked like, I took pictures of them.”

English said he gravitates toward portraiture as it allows him to connect with the person he is photographing. And while he’s better known for his magazine shoots with stars like David Beckham and Mila Kunis, Then and Now is a more personal work.

The project first came about when English contacted Buchholz again on Facebook and asked if he would be interested in modeling for him again.

“It’s like we’ve just picked up where we left off,” he said of filming at his home in Los Angeles last year.

English stylizes and poses the models in the same way to replicate their previous portrait.

English stylizes and poses the models in the same way to replicate their previous portrait. Credit: Doug English

The couple recreated a number of different poses from the original photo shoot with more than a dozen side-by-side photos. published in a special issue of the independent magazine Ey!

He then began contacting other past models in hopes of expanding the project further. He said that almost everyone he approached agreed to recreate their pictures.

Many of English’s subjects came to Los Angeles to try and make it as models and actors. Some of them, including “Andy Mac” star Trent Garrett and Australian actor Luke Cook, have since found success. “It’s very interesting to watch them progress,” English said, “because it’s so rare, you know?”

Models on the original shoot were dressed in vintage 80s clothing, including tights, briefs and military-style hoodies that English had been collecting for years.

Models on the original shoot were dressed in vintage 80s clothing, including tights, briefs and military-style hoodies that English had been collecting for years. Credit: Doug English

In July, a selection of images from “Then and Now” was exhibited at the Cubo Gallery in the historic center of Mexico City. According to show curator Georgiana Chung, the images invited viewers to reflect on the maturity and growth of each model.

“It really feels like the role of a photographer to observe and be a container for the passage of time,” she said.

English hopes to continue working on the series to publish the images in book form.

“It was very enjoyable,” English said of his little-known work. “It was not something I was ready to show until now. It’s a kind of catharsis. It’s good for me to see them in the world and make people react, get excited and connect.”

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