Photo Manipulating WWI Black and White Photos into Fantasy Compositions

At first glance, it would never be imagined that these pictures had been taken over half a century ago. Jane long is an Australian artist, who has found a new and inventive way of breathing new life and meaning into these black and white pictures, that had been forgotten and has created new colourful and surreal works of art that shout imagination and talent.

The pictures are from a series created by Long, called “Dancing with Costica”, and originally had taken in black and white on glass-plates, around the era of World War One. The images were taken by a Romanian war photographer by the name of Costica Acsinte, whose aim was to document and photograph World War One. The images that he took captured the emotionless faces and eyes of his subjects, that remained motionless and with little or no gestures. The main goal of Longs recreations was that she wanted to change the context of the image and breathe new life into the pictures. At the time of World War One, photographic equipment and technique were limited. People remained emotionless for pictures, but this was not an accurate reflection of their feelings Long suggests, and this has been attempted to be reintroduced.

  black and white photos

photo manipulation

Jane long photography

The pictures have been transformed into colourful images and have new parts added to them and it is left to the audience to decide whether they are successful in their rejuvenation. Some have suggested that it is controversial to edit the images and improper, but Long justifies this by saying that these pictures now help the audience perception of these images, from old photographs, to images of real people of that time. It has helped add emotion to an emotionless picture and breathe new life into it.

photo manipulation

WWI photos

When comparing the images side by side, the black and white images, while well done and reflective of the times compared to that of the reworked and edited images, lack the dream like qualities that Long has achieved in her process. The new images retain and reflect some of the history of the era they are from by the tone and colouring, but the parts that have been added, which include the background and some of the other props, add extra detail, character and fun.

photo manipulation

black and white photos

Not all of the reworked images are of a realistic nature, and some artistic license has been used to add emphasis to the scene and increase the surrealism found in the pictures.  There are certain elements that have been maintained, and kept in the reworkings to help maintain the connection between the original, as well as the initial concept that had been set out by Costica.

photo manipulation

photo manipulation

Jane long photography

Longs work has a dream like, vintage style to it, and whilst the pictures have taken on a new, more up to date character, Long has done well in preserving the overall quality and concept outlined in Costicas’ original photographs.