When you think of your childhood and the older people who were a part of your world, you probably wondered what some of them looked like when they were younger. What would you make of seeing centenarians in their younger years?

The hair, the smile, the face shape, the expressions? They’ve seen and experienced so much in the course of a century that seeing them as twenty or thirty-somethings is like traveling back in time. A fun journey!

Photographer Jan Langer explored aging through a photo project of Czech centenarians, which pairs old images of them from years ago with current ones. The nation has roughly 1200 of these amazing elders, of whom 13 chose to participate. Entitled “Faces of Century”, the series had Langer wondering what was on their minds then and now.

What memories have they clung to? And as time has crept up upon them, what part of them has stayed the same throughout the passage of time? Take a look at these stunning side-by-side pictures and you’re sure to have questions for them – and yourself.

  1. Prokop Vejdělek – 22, 101

    langer project vejdelekJan Langer

    Photo taken during military enlistment.

  2. Bedřiška Köhlerová – 26, 103

    langer project kohlerovaJan Langer

    Wedding day photo. Born in Italy, former accountant.

  3. Antonín Kovář – 25, 102

    langer project kovarJan Langer

    Musician who led his own band as bandmaster.

  4. Ludvík Chybík – 20, 102

    langer project chybikJan Langer

    Was once a candymaker in his youth.

  5. Vincenc Jetelina – 30, 105

    langer project jetelinaJan Langer.

    Taken after he built his own house, where he still lives today.

  6. Anna Vašinová – 22, 102

    langer project vasiJan Langer

    Picture snapped after wedding.

  7. Antonín Baldrman – 17, 101

    langer project baldrmanJan Langer

    This teenager was already a locksmith when this photo was taken.

  8. Vlasta Čížková – 23, 101

    woman young oldJan Langer

    Her only wish now is to have family be together.

  9. Anna Pochobradská – 30, 100

    langer project pochobradskaJan Langer

    This former farmer’s favorite hobbies include sleeping.

  10. Marie Fejfarová – 101

    langer project fejfarovaJan Langer

    At age 101, she burnt all her belongings (pictures included) and left the villa she and her husband owned to live at a nursing home – on her own accord. She checked herself in with a toothbrush and cites the futility of taking material possessions to the grave.

  11. Stanislav Spáčil – 17, 102

    langer project spacilJan Langer

    The serious teen was already an electrician when this picture was taken.

  12. Marie Burešová, 23, 101

    langer project buresovaJan Langer

    Beautiful wedding photo of a woman who is still very close to her family.

  13. Ludmila Vysloužilová – 23, 101

    langer project vyslJan Langer

    Took this picture as a gift for her fiancé. When her loving husband passed, she never remarried, as she could not find anyone comparable.

The people in these pictures have witnessed history and, in many cases, were part of historical events. Though their lives have been full of changes and pain, there’s also been love and family. To learn more about this project and these centenarians’ stories, visit Jan Langer’s website.

Maybe you’ve combed through stacks of your grandparents’ or parents’ photos to catch a glimpse of their youthful days. If you’re fortunate, you’ve been able to ask them questions about their long lives. Log their stories and be ready to tell your own someday!

What do you think of these images of centenarians and their younger selves? Would you do a personal project like this for your family?