Europe

Daughter recreates images from mom’s Italian vacation 30 years earlier

Italia: 30 Years Later. In the top photo, journalist Lydia Coutré's mother Rita takes a break at the Piazza Michelangelo in 1982. On the bottom, Lydia poses in the same spot in 2012.

Italia: 30 Years Later. In the top photo, journalist Lydia Coutré's mother Rita takes a break at the Piazza Michelangelo in 1982. On the bottom, Lydia poses in the same spot in 2012.  (Courtesy Lydia Coutré)

Few things stay the same after 30 years.

But for an American woman looking to recreate photographs of famous Italian landmarks her mother had visited three decades earlier, finding the ancient sites were a snap. 

Journalist Lydia Coutré says when she was young, she would look at her mother’s old travel slides of her trip to Europe she took with friends in 1982. So in 2012, as a college student, when picking where to study abroad, Florence was a no brainer. 

“I actually was inspired to go to Italy after seeing her slides when I was working on a fifth grade project,” Coutré told FoxNews.com.  “So when I had the chance to study there through Kent State University, I jumped on board.”

But, Coutré didn't just want to visit the places where her mother went; she wanted to document how things have changed --or not.

Along the Arno, then and now. "Obviously there's new life in the foreground, but also note the height of the palm tree on the left side about three buildings in," writes Coutré. (Courtesy Lydia Coutré)

Before her trip abroad, Lydia’s parents gave her a slide converter so she could transfer and compare the old images on her computer -allowing her to create a roadmap for her trip. 

Along the way, she compiled then-and-now pictures including shots along the Arno river in Tuscany, the Piazza Michelangelo in Florence, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  Coutré even enlisted the help of a few friends to recreate a group photo in front of Rome's Colosseum.

In addition to her time in Italy, Coutré took trips to Interlaken, Switzerland,  Athens and Santorini in Greece, and London—places her mother had also captured on film in the 1980s.

After returning back to the U.S., Coutré collected the photos into a project called "Italia: 30 Years Later."

1982 and 2012. The Torre di Pisa seems to be leaning a bit more today. (Courtesy Lydia Coutré)

The London Eye has changed the skyline of the view along the Thames. Courtesy Lydia Coutré)

Though three decades passed between her mother’s trip and her own, Coutré says the most unusual thing about the experience was how the landscapes and famous landmarks had hardly changed.

“What surprised me was actually how little things had changed. Most of the photos were pretty similar,” Coutré says.  She added the biggest difference today is how people view the image of the location. In the past, the family would huddle up around the slide projector and click through. Now Coutré can share all of her images with friends and family members through social media.

Friends then and now. Rita Coutré (top, far left) standing near Rome's Colosseum with friends in 1982. Lydia Coutré (bottom, far left) recreates her mom's group photo. (Courtesy Lydia Coutré) 

Coutré’s mother loved the project so the young journalist has considered branching out with a new series of then and photos from more of her mom’s travels or those of different family members.

“I know she took another trip a few years after her 1982 adventure, so perhaps I'm due for another installment of 30 Years Later,” she said 

“There are plenty of other slides and places that I haven't recaptured from her post-college trips. I haven't talked to other family members about such collections, but would be more than happy to travel the world to recapture any of their pictures.”