Photo Overlays Create a Then and Now Perspective

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Not too long ago we were mesmerized by the pictures sewn together by Russian photographer Sergey Larenkov, where he meticulously merged World War II pictures of soldiers taken in places like Berlin, Prague, and Vienna, with new, contemporary images of the exact, same locations. What he created were ghostly images of these men in uniform eerily appearing as if they were back to haunt the same places they once roamed. That series was called The Ghosts of World War II. A more recent project that had the same theme of then and now was a series devoted to Parisian sites, made by Photographer Audrey Cerdan, under the direction of Albert Kahn. The project was featured on the Rue 89 website, and had an adjustable picture slide where you could control the amount of image from either era. That too was astonishing to view.

Photographer Kerényi Zoltán apparently is one of the latest to use this same theme. The Hungarian artist uses images from the past and present in his version called Ablak a Múltra, or Window to the Past in English.

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The old images that Zoltán used were taken from the archives of Fortepan, a website that has an online library of photos taken from turn of the century 1900, up until relatively recent history in the 1990s. What he does is overlays the old images on his own shots of the same locations. He does not however, edit the old photo, but instead puts the entire old image (easel border and all) on the new version recently taken. The effect is like looking at a picture on top of another picture. His combinations compare shots from present day, along with images that span several decades of the 20th century, from 1900 all the way to the 1970s.

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Oddly, while there are obvious changes in fashion, motoring and infrastructure, there are some landmarks also remarkably untouched by a hundred years.   In fact many photos show improvement rather than deterioration. The project reveals a place that has certainly been touched by modernization, but has also held on to landmark structures that can only be called treasures of these places today.

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See Kerényi Zoltán’s work at his website.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.