Ansel Leyes is an experienced and gifted photographer who has studied with some of the masters in the field. Ansel’s composition is inspired, his lighting is sparse and natural, and he has spared no expense on his gear. Ansel is also, for the most part, unemployed. Though landscapes are his passion, there are few outlets who pay regularly for his work. Just as he’s about to lose his condo and give up on his dream, Ansel receives a phone call for some portraiture work. When he arrives at the subject’s location, he sees three naked men in a bathtub. He’s being asked by these brothers to throwback to a photo from their youth, in which they are laughing and playing in the tub together while their mother bathes them.
Though Ansel hates every minute debasing his talents and skills, the men love the final result and share it with their elderly mother, clearly moved by their thoughtfulness and creativity. Ansel, on the other hand, accepts the payment for the gig and can afford to give photography another shot.Word of mouth spreads about Ansel’s throwback photography, in which adult siblings go to great lengths and precise detail to flawlessly recreate their cherished childhood photographs, and present them side by side with the originals to their parents or other loved ones instrumental in their upbringing. His business expands, and can soon hire a ragtag group of misfits to help him nab the perfect photo.He recruits Tiffany Pratt, a detail oriented set designer from a local community theater who is responsible for sourcing all the physical elements needed to recreate that precise look from the selected photographs. Youssef Sabbagh is a Syrian refugee who works in the lighting department at Home Depot, who is looking for a new challenge and joins Ansel’s venture as a lighting technician. And Bethany is a 60-something homeless senior who is just looking to prove to everyone that she’s still got her wits about her, who takes on the role of office manager.
This unlikely team soon becomes the go-to destination for recreating cherished family moments. The weekly situations are bizarre, yet emotionally impactful. As the Throwback business grows, Ansel’s partners enjoy the steady work and pay, but Ansel feels more and more like he’s wasting his talent on feel-good memories instead of high art.