Social Media Spotlight: Lydia Coutré Recreates Mom's Magical Images 30 Years Later
Images via Lydia Coutré
Travel might be one of the more rewarding things we can do, but it takes on so much more emotional gravitas when it comes in tandem with a personal history.
One such journalist has managed to travel the world and retrace her mother’s steps, adding remarkable weight to some truly brilliant images.
We were fortunate enough to touch base with Lydia Coutré whose work you may have seen around the Internet. If not, we encourage you to pore over mesmerizing tales at her blog Lydia is Lost or her Twitter feed.
The more mesmerizing of Coutré’s work remains the “30 Years Later” projects, where the journalist complements her mother’s travel images from decades past with those taken in the present day.
Thankfully, we had a chance to lob some questions at Coutré. But before that interview, you simply have to see the end result of the amazing work.
The above picture was taken at the Piazzale Michelangelo 30 years apart.
The above illustrates the changing skyline in London with the Aquarium in the background. Decades later the London Eye appears.
We simply had to find out more.
TravelPulse: You are recreating your mother's images and, to a degree, recreating her adventures. What spawned this amazing journey?
Lydia Coutré: I'd wanted to visit Italy ever since seeing my mom's slide while I was doing research for a project in fifth grade. So when I had the chance to study abroad through Kent State University, I went for it. A couple of months before I left, I had the idea to recapture the images. For Christmas (2011), my parents got me a converter and I spent my winter break converting the slides onto my computer.
TP: I noticed that your mom popped up in some of the more recent images. How had the process been for her?
LC: She loved it. She had a chance to look at her old photos again. She and my dad came to visit me while I was living in Florence, so I retook some that she was in or just snuck her into some of the other images.
Coutré’s notation of the above: “Above from left to right: Rita, Barb and two friends they traveled with for a couple of days. Below from left to right: Lydia, Amy and two girls standing where my mom took the picture who kindly helped us recreate the moment. Meet Maria and Jamie.”
TP: What is it like to return and retrace your mother's steps? Travel is a wonderful enough experience without adding a bit of personal history.
LC: It was really great. She even sent me a copy of her diary from the time so I would read her journal entries as I was traveling.
TP: Has travel always been important to you or did this project spark that light?
LC: Travel has always been a big part of my life. I took it for granted growing up, but my parents always took me and my sisters on road trips or vacations across the U.S. throughout my childhood. By the time I graduated high school I had been to about 40 of the 50 states. I'm very grateful to my parents for helping us experience the world outside my hometown (Grand Haven, Mich.).
Studying abroad was my first time to Europe. I had been to Canada and Costa Rica before, but otherwise had always traveled in the United States.
I lived in Florence, Italy, January - May 2012. I took all of those pictures in that time.
TP: What do you do when you aren't touring the world and capturing moments?
LC: I'm a professional journalist. When I'm not working, I'm either writing for fun, still reading the news or creating some sort of art project.
TP: What plans do you have for the future?
LC: In general, I plan to continue in journalism.
For travel, I plan to take whatever affordable trips I can. I know I haven't been everywhere that my mom has, so I might consider retracing more of her trips.
TP: Any travel tips gleaned through your adventures?
LC: I guess remember you are a visitor. Respect the city you’re in, its people and its culture. And ask questions.
The person standing next to you in line at the coffee shop probably knows the city and its treasures better than anyone and can point you to sites and experiences that no amount of pre-trip research could lead you to.
TP: Lastly, is there anything you would love to share that you think our readers might want to know about yourself?
LC: Not that I can think of! I live in Cleveland, Ohio, and am always searching for my next adventure.
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