Portland artist explores 'if I had known my mother back then'

PORTLAND, Ore. -- They look like photos of friends - maybe even sisters - girls around the same age standing side-by-side; but here's the hitch, the girls are mother and daughter.

It's not a Photoshop trick, but rather more of a tribute. Portland area art director, Danielle Delph, spent the better part of six months tracking down hundreds of pictures from her and her mother's childhoods, looking for the perfect pairing and Photo-shopping her younger self next to a picture of her mom as a child. (Some before and after examples can be seen in the photo gallery.) The result has gone viral.

According to Delph, the seemingly vintage photos were inspired by Instagram - think "throwback Thursday" or "flashback Friday" - something, notably, that was not around when the pictures were originally taken.

"Anyone can just plop people together in a photo, but it's where you have these small little details where you're bumping arms or my head is on her shoulder -- things that we do as people and friends that you really start to think that these are real moments," Delph said in an interview with KATU's Cory Marshall.

"I would find, 'Oh, here's a moment where she's in dance class and 'Oh, here's a moment where I'm in dance class,'" Delph continued.

The picture project, the 25-year-old says, was initially a "just because" gift to her mother. Delph posted the Tumblr page on Facebook, tagging her mom in the Photo-shopped versions as part of the surprise reveal.

(It) made me cry; it was just so sweet. I just loved the idea of her thinking of us being friends growing up and it just really - (it) just gave me chills (and) melted my heart," Delph's mother, Janis Thomas gushed while speaking with KATU via FaceTime.

The mash-up masterpiece has also yielded a rather unexpected side effect: Delph says she has received hundreds of messages from women who have lost their moms - thanking her for highlighting the bond between mother and daughter.

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