What is an Age Progression?

An Age Progression is an artist’s interpretation of what a missing person may look like when they have been missing for several years and may now look quite different.

What is an Age Progression?

Age Progressions are made by highly qualified artists, and despite what TV shows would have you believe, they cannot be done at the touch of a button using an app on your smart phone. Although there is ongoing research into creating computer programmes to replicate the process, currently it is most accurately undertaken by qualified Age Progression artists. It takes many years of studying to become a qualified specialist, and each illustration can take many hours or days depending on the circumstances and how much information the artist has to work with.

How are they made?

Although a lot of work goes into creating an Age Progression, the level of accuracy can depend on a lot of factors. Most importantly the age the person was when a photograph was last taken of them, and how many other photographs are available of them throughout their lifetime to show how their facial features may have changed through the years. The artist will also need photographs of other family members to see how their faces have changed through the years, along with knowing family traits such when other family members started losing their hair, if the missing person had any identifying features that may become apparent as they age such as a squint in their eye.

How do I get one?

We are fortunate enough to work with a selection of generous professionals who donate their time and expertise, helping us by creating Age Progression images for longer-term missing people. This can be an emotional process for families, as you will have your own images in mind of what your loved one may look like today, and seeing an artist’s interpretation can be a shock. Some families tell us the image is exactly as they imagined their loved one would be, others can struggle to connect with it. It’s a very personal thing, and as with everything we offer, you will not be alone in this process. If you think an Age Progression would help in the search for your loved one, speak to a member of our team about what the process would look like for you and what support we can give you during and after the image has been created.


Video of how Age Progression images are made featuring Tim Widden
Missing People volunteer AP Artist


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