In a world of daily vlogs and Instagram stories, documenting every second of your life with a camera is now the norm. But Sam Klemke had a head start.
The cartoonist artist obsessively documented his life from 1976 to 2011, filming roundups at the end of each year, capturing his changing life and appearance over the years.
The montage of the end of each year footage was done by Klemke in a reverse time frame and first went viral in 2011. Another ten years later, Reddit found out once again. After being shared yesterday, June 20, the post garnered over 32,000 votes.
“Nostalgia has always been my drug of choice. It’s a narcotic. All my life I’ve been nostalgic for times long before my time. New York in the 1950s, San Francisco in the 1960s, Hollywood in the 1930s. And it’s true, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be, “Klemke said in a later video.
Klemke had no idea that in 2021, nostalgia would arguably be at an all-time high, with kids online already obsessed with the year 2000 and even nostalgic for 2013. What he apparently predicted was our obsession. from documenting our lives to a goal.
Unlike Instagram, Klemke hasn’t presented an overly polished version of his life on camera, instead it looks relatively mundane, warts and all in the extreme. Although the reverse edit only showed moments from each year and his mission began like this, his videos have morphed over the years into newspaper-style clips, recording whenever he felt like it.
“I think the difference between me and young kids who talk about their selfies is that most of them take their pictures like, ‘I’m so happy, aren’t things great, I’m am with my friends “said Klemke The Guardian in 2015.
“I spent a lot of time alone, as you might have told from the movie. Suddenly it was late at night, in my sleeping van or in my hotel, and I had just want to have a conversation with someone. I would have had all those short, short five minute relationships with people throughout the day. I really wanted a full conversation and, uh oh, look who it is: my device photo. I didn’t really think of it as a confession, at least consciously. I think it was just a sharing. “
It was the 2011 video that Reddit has since rediscovered that actually inspired a 2015 documentary using decades of Klemke footage. Sam Klemke’s Time Machine was created by Matthew Bate and premiered at Sundance, covering moments as important as the John Lennon assassination and uncovering 9/11 down to the little things: his weight gain and loss, his failed relationships and even his use of sex workers.
It may be ten years since it first went viral, but its impact is just as strong this time around, with Reddit users praising the video online.
“Wow, so surreal to condense so much of your life into the movie. Well done to him and his life,” one user wrote.
“I watched this video the first time it came out in 2011 and then decided to do the same so I started filming myself on my birthday every year until I quit in 2015 because my life was going on at s ** t. It was depressing and silly doing any sort of documentation of my life, “added another user, getting responses encouraging me to try again. “Even this man has had depressing years,” one noted.
“Am I the only one who found this scary? Life goes really fast,” one user wrote, echoing the thoughts of Klemke himself. In 2015, Klemke also declared The Guardian: “I wanted a record like the one of my life. That’s what really motivated me. I knew that my youth was fleeting. As a youngster, I was different from most children because I was very aware of the speed at which life was going. “
News week contacted Sam Klemke for comment.