This is the best mother-daughter photo shop ever.

She stepped back in time to see if she could be her mum’s best friend.

Danielle Delph had always wondered if she and her mother would be best friends if they had grown up together, so when she photoshopped herself into her mum’s vintage photos, she convinced herself that they’d have been great friends at the same age.

Danielle told she got the idea for her “If I Had Known My Mother Back Then” project while she was scrolling through photos on Instagram and found a vintage photo of someone’s mother. It made her think of her mother, Janis Thomas.

“I think it’s one of those ideas that people have at any point in life,” she said. “You grow up and you say, ‘Oh, I wonder if my mum would have thought that was fun,’ or ‘What was she like when she was my age? What would she have done?’”

The project took about six months to complete, partly because photos were being mailed one batch at a time from her mother’s home.

“I just kind of went through and found moments when we were acting similarly, or we were interacting or making eye contact, or at a similar event,” Danielle said.

Danielle Delph

Imagining how she and her mum would interact on Christmas morning, Danielle said she could picture the two of them playing. According to her, “That napkin is actually part of my mum’s photo, and in my photo, I’m actually drawing, so it looks like I’m drawing on her napkin.”

Danielle Delph

Danielle matched two photos of her and her mum in costume. “We’re just hangin’ out,” she said. “I like this one, because you can see a physical connection. My arm’s around her; her arm’s on top of mine. It looks like we were in a dance recital.”

Danielle Delph

One of Danielle’s favorite composites involves a picture of a carnival ride.

“This one I love because we both happen to be wearing a very similar outfit,” she said. “My outfit was from a wedding that I was a flower girl in. This is just kind of funny, because she’s being goofy, and I’m being goofy, and it just kind of looks like we’re both posing for the camera in a very goofy way.”

Danielle Delph

Danielle got a kick out of a photo of her mother as a teenager, hanging out on a floral-patterned couch with her friends.

“It’s a very random moment that just kind of gets captured,” Danielle added. “It’s a very natural thing. Everyone has a photo like this.”

Danielle Delph

Formal wear also got the mashup treatment.

Danielle Delph

Perhaps the best case for a mother-daughter friendship that bends the rules of space and time is the final photo in the collection.

“There are some things from my world – like, I’m holding an iced coffee, which is something that they would never have [back then], and I’m wearing [my mother’s] charm bracelet from her high-school years,” Danielle said. “So, I think this one has a lot of layers to it. This is kind of a moment where just two girls are hanging out, walking down the street and having a really candid conversation.”

In addition to creating memorable composite visuals, Danielle’s leafing through her mum’s photo albums yielded another profound result.

“You see a side of things that you never really saw before,” she said, “because you’re not there for the first 30 years of [your parents’] lives.”

She added she’s been thrilled by the Internet response to her collection, which was featured on Hello Giggles earlier this week.

“I wasn’t really expecting that kind of response,” she added, “because I was doing this for my mum.”

This post was originally published on, and is republished with full permission. 

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