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Artist Photoshops Scenes From WWII Into Present Day

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the then-and-now dept.

Education 150

Russian photographer Sergey Larenkov has taken old World War II photos and photoshopped them over the locations in present day. The scenes from places like Prague, Vienna, and Moscow are incredibly well done and a neat way to appreciate history.

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Very thought-provoking. (3, Insightful)

jbarr (2233) | about 4 years ago | (#33124514)

It's a great way to remember past events by envisioning them through today's eye. Very cool.

Try in b&w (3, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33124966)

Gets really quite eerie when the pictures are displayed in a software capable of switching to greyscale. Not "better" of course, the contrast was surely also the point...but interesting, more blended.

Though it does make the photos more distant, I guess - doesn't help with how, while being a small kid, I thought for some time that the world had to be so sad place in the past, without colors ;) (I apparently missed the existence of color paintings/etc.; and, in retrospect, wasn't very wrong; in some twisted way...)

Re:Try in b&w (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 4 years ago | (#33125684)

Call of Duty really made WWII seem like a fun colorful war opposed to the bleak greyscale war it actually was.

Re:Very thought-provoking. (2, Insightful)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | about 4 years ago | (#33125920)

With the way technology is going I imagine we're not far from an augmented reality app that would be able to overlay/blend pictures like this into live footage and display it. How eerie would that be ?

Very interesting (4, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 4 years ago | (#33124522)

This is probably the most interesting use of photoshoping I've seen yet. By seeing the conditions of the streets and buildings merged straight into modern times, you really get a sense of how war-torn the world was at the time.

Re:Very interesting (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33124724)

Not really. The modern version should be black and white like the old version.

I wouldn't even call this photoshopping. All he did was take a photo at the same angle and then use a mask to show various parts. It takes no skill at all, kids do this on their Facecrap pages. Hell, you don't even need a decent paint program to do it.

Re:Very interesting (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 years ago | (#33124882)

I agree, great idea, but he's not very good at photoshop. Most slashdotters probably have the skills to do better. Although we usually use ours to edit walrus's into various hilarious positions.

Re:Very interesting (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33124886)

Just because it's easy, doesn't mean the value as art is any less potent.

Re:Very interesting (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33124888)

Not really. The modern version should be black and white like the old version.

The coloration demarcates the past from the present. On some of them he could have transitioned a little more smoothly between the black and white and the color areas but they are nevertheless interesting.

Re:Very interesting (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33124940)

MBGMorden said "This is probably the most interesting use of photoshoping I've seen yet".

So I don't know where you get off saying "Not really." on someone's opinion, as it's not stated as fact.

I agree with MBGMorden in the fact that the images, although maybe in your opinion, are not the most technically advanced computer manipulated images, do instill within me a feeling of realism of WW2 for myself. It's hard for me to look at a BnW image of a photograph in the 1940's and feel some sort of realism to it. Imposing them into modern images instills within me a sense of realism, of which I am appreciative.

Re:Very interesting (5, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 4 years ago | (#33124960)

The difference between a master and an amateur is not the technical skill, but the emotional content of the works. People can study Vermeer's brushstrokes or Ansel Adams' exposure techniques all they want, but it won't make them into their role models.

Same here. What makes this awesome isn't the user's technical competency of an image editing software. It's the fact that the images created are a powerful reminder of how recent WW2 was, and how little separates us now from them then.

Re:Very interesting (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | about 4 years ago | (#33125078)

Maybe, but I'd rather see the two photos side by side so that I can actually compare them and see the differences between the two photos rather than having part of one photo obscuring part of another. As it is you don't get to fully see either image.

Re:Very interesting (2, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33125206)

Hm, js app, with a slider, to transition between two images & with some areas of each image (people for example) given early prominence during transition to "their" version of the photo? Sound like something a slashdotter could do... ;)

Re:Very interesting (3, Informative)

rident (1287114) | about 4 years ago | (#33125248)

Agreed, the message is more important. Also I'm all for mad digital photo editing skills but the process of recreating the exact angles from the WWII photos isn't exactly quick or easy either. This project either involved lots of measuring or lots of trial and error.

Re:Very interesting (2, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#33125634)

A lot seperates us between now and then. Countless dead, every family across the planet touched by it. Nobody on this planet has a family that was untouched by that war. Absolutely Everyone lost someone in that war.

Re:Very interesting (1)

mike2R (721965) | about 4 years ago | (#33127632)

A lot seperates us between now and then. Countless dead, every family across the planet touched by it. Nobody on this planet has a family that was untouched by that war. Absolutely Everyone lost someone in that war.

Really I think all that separates us is nuclear weapons. Without them there would have been (at least) 3 world wars in the last century.

Twice in the first half of the twentieth century, people very much like us turned their entire effort into waging industrial war against each other. We came extremely close to doing it again on a number of occasions during the cold war, despite the fact that nuclear destruction was mutually assured.

What separates us from them? Luck mainly I think, and possibly now and going forward the growing globalisation and interlinking of the major nations.

Re:Very interesting (1)

closer2it (926190) | about 4 years ago | (#33127650)

The difference between a master and an amateur is not the technical skill, but the emotional content of the works. People can study Vermeer's brushstrokes or Ansel Adams' exposure techniques all they want, but it won't make them into their role models.

Very true indeed. I as a musician have already experienced that.

On 2007 I recorded a improvisation on guitar [youtube.com] and although the recording is IMHO emotionally strong, some "guitarists" told me that "has errors", "the notes are not very clear", etc.

I'm not saying that there isn't errors, but that's not the point.

I guess for some people a diamond is just a rock.

Re:Very interesting (5, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about 4 years ago | (#33125032)

I don't know who's dumber, the AC or the people modding him up. In the first place, changing the base photos from color to monochrome would completely violate and nullify the artistic integrity of the images. The whole aesthetic point is that the past images are ghosts, and the monochromatic color palette is the indicator of that status. If you reduced everything to that level, the past portions would cease to be 'special' and would exude less, if any, otherworldly incongruence which is contrasted to the structural congruence of the image as setting/composition. Go back to art class.

Secondly, denigrating the technical simplicity of the task is really uncalled for. It doesn't matter that it is technically rather simple to perform, many great works of art are not necessarily difficult in technique, but their value comes from the unique and meaningful perspective of the artist. In this particular case, I have to say that these are some of the most inspired, evocative, and meaningful photo manipulations I have ever seen or am ever likely to see. I care not for how relatively difficult they may or may not have been to produce.

Re:Very interesting (1)

Reziac (43301) | about 4 years ago | (#33125780)

Agreed. This isn't about technical expertise; indeed, I think the rawness may actually add something, the way an irregular beat can accent music. By the time I got done looking my hair was standing on end, and not because the pictures were so frightening or dramatic, but because the juxtaposition was so effective.

Re:Very interesting (2, Interesting)

Kirijini (214824) | about 4 years ago | (#33126154)

Disclaimer: I'm not defending the GP.

It doesn't matter that it is technically rather simple to perform, many great works of art are not necessarily difficult in technique, but their value comes from the unique and meaningful perspective of the artist. In this particular case, I have to say that these are some of the most inspired, evocative, and meaningful photo manipulations I have ever seen or am ever likely to see.

Perhaps this is most meaningful photo-manipulation you'll ever see... but I really doubt that's true. The photoshopping here is amateurish, and a detriment, I think, to what could be a very powerful set of artwork. Had the artist managed to blend together the photographs to create a single imagine, rather than two rather obviously layered images, the "ghosts of the past" effect would be much more striking. The artist could have conveyed much more subtle and penetrating messages.

Take this image [ning.com] for example. The impact here is seeing these WWII soldiers walking down an otherwise modern street. A technically proficient photo editor would not have, for example, cut off the legs of the foremost soldier, nor allowed the soldiers in the distance to the right fade out. On top of that, I think it would have been much more striking if the present showed through the past as well - the soldiers on the sidewalk passing by modern road signs, for instance. A similar kind of modification would have transformed this image [ning.com] from intriguing to shocking. The image that comes closest to successfully blending the past and present is this image [ning.com] , except for the tree on the right that fazes out, and the poor blending with the sky.

On the other hand, this image [ning.com] came very close to being absolutely striking, but the decision to partially fade out the car the soldiers are walking by is a tragic mistake. If the car were fully present, the soldiers would look like they were walking around the cars in the parking lot - conveying a powerful message that we tend to move history around our conveniences, rather than respect the weight of the ages. Similarly, this image [ning.com] would have been visually and emotionally arresting, if the artist had been willing to let the flag poles stay in the foreground rather than blend away and back again; and had taken more care with the soldier's legs, and the hard edges in between the second and third pole.

As they are now, these photographs do draw attention to the history of places, and are a worth a look. They are not, however, art-gallery material. And the key difference is not the artistic ambition, but the lack of technical ambition.

Naturally, this is all my artistic opinion, and I understand that we might have different tastes. I just want to emphasize that technical proficiency , or lack thereof, can make or break art... and I think it broke it in this case. If this artist is comfortable handing his work off to a master printmaker, I think this body of work could turn into something really powerful.

Here [formatmag.com] is an example of some less serious but way better done manipulations of historic photos. Seriously, check this stuff out.

Re:Very interesting (0)

mikael_j (106439) | about 4 years ago | (#33127428)

I was actually thinking pretty much the same as you, I would have loved to see this [ning.com] properly masked with the grayscale soldiers and cannon in an otherwise modern scene.

Another example would be the first image [ning.com] which should be pretty easy to blend so that the officers walking down the stairs appear like ghosts walking down the modern-day scene.

Re:Very interesting (2, Insightful)

hexmem (97431) | about 4 years ago | (#33127450)

I completely agree with you. I absolutely love the concept this artist has done. But I would not buy and hang one of these pictures in my home because it looks like he spent a whole 2 minutes blending the images together.

Re:Very interesting (5, Insightful)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 4 years ago | (#33125122)

I wouldn't even call this photoshopping. All he did was take a photo at the same angle and then use a mask to show various parts.

Either with lenses with the exact same distortion or correcting for the distortion in the old photo, new photo, or both. And making sure the scale is exactly right for both images.

Even just finding the exact positioning for the camera to produce the proper alignment is a challenge, especially if it has to be taken with the camera in the middle of modern traffic, or if the terrain has changed enough that you can't stand there anymore.

In practice, you'll have to make lots of adjustments in post just to get the images aligned properly even if you do get the modern photo taken from the right position with the right angle.

Re:Very interesting (1)

Tomato3 (557456) | about 4 years ago | (#33127508)

To be fair I haven't tried this. But it seems that all you would have to do is take a photo from roughly the same place and let a program like Hugin align and adjust the photos for you. Maybe this will be the beginning of a new hobby.

Re:Very interesting (1)

bcmm (768152) | about 4 years ago | (#33125580)

Judging art by technical proficiency? You sound like one of those snobs who entirely dismisses almost all music for using boring time signatures or something.

Re:That's not even snobbery. (1)

beanluc (780880) | about 4 years ago | (#33125938)

I argue that "snobbery" is only true when the favored condition actually has some merit of some kind.

The condition described here is more like the kind of cognitive dissonance described in (I think it was) Escher, Goedel, Bach, where the robot insists that one recording of a symphony is more pleasing than another, because of the aesthetic qualitites of the patterns of the grooves in the vinyl discs.

So is the robot a snob, or, deaf to the actual auditory content and unfit to judge by normal human standards?

There are all kinds of people who have nothing to be snobby about, yet act supercilious all the same.

Re:Very interesting (1)

AhabTheArab (798575) | about 4 years ago | (#33124842)

Very cool concept indeed. Must have been pretty neat to travel around Europe to get the present day photos to match the angle.

Re:Very interesting (1)

shoptroll (544006) | about 4 years ago | (#33124964)

Agreed. Very impressive.

Re:Very interesting (1)

SkyDude (919251) | about 4 years ago | (#33126076)

I still have a sense of awe when I see technology used like this. Being a serious amateur photographer, and being nearly as old as a tintype, [wikipedia.org] seeing an image such as this makes me think of all the shots I've ever seen through my viewfinder that could have been enhanced with Photoshop. Alas, it just wasn't even a dream back in the day.

Good start (1, Insightful)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | about 4 years ago | (#33124976)

Interesting start, but methinks has a ways to go. As others note, it's mostly just rough masking one photo onto another.

Methinks the effect would be more striking if the foreground characters were crisply masked onto the background photo, with a broader blending of striking background distinctions (rubble). Don't just have a soldier fade into the modern setting.

Re:Good start (1)

eln (21727) | about 4 years ago | (#33125296)

I agree with this. To me the most striking thing about modern European cities contrasted with what they were in 1945 is how utterly destroyed they were then and how completely they've been rebuilt. Hence, it would have been nicer to see more of the architecture behind the soldiers in before/after form. Seeing the soldiers is interesting, but having 15 pictures of old soldiers walking down modern streets with no other contrast is a little monotonous.

Re:Good start (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 years ago | (#33125622)

The idea, I think, is to give a "ghostly" quality to the old image. It accomplishes this spectacularly, IMO.

Re:Good start (1)

GooberToo (74388) | about 4 years ago | (#33126302)

I couldn't agree more. Especially when you consider that the odds of those soldiers still being alive are not good at all.

Re:Good start (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 4 years ago | (#33127668)

I was thinking the same thing at first, but if it was blended in more smoothly, would the intention of it have been as clear?
The stark contrast makes it clear that these are two distinct images of different eras.

Those pix are incredible. (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 4 years ago | (#33124542)

The first one (on the stairs) was the best.

Re:Those pix are incredible. (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33125548)

That's mostly a way to attract "no, x one!' ;) At least most of them are interesting in their own right.

Second from last gets quite a bit creepy; you can see an old woman in "present version" - it's not inconceivable that she's also present in the group of past kids; "looking" at herself.

In Soviet Russia. . . (0, Offtopic)

kimvette (919543) | about 4 years ago | (#33124608)

In Soviet Russia, history Photoshops you?

I had to. This is likely the only time that tired "in soviet russia" joke is topical.

Re:In Soviet Russia. . . (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | about 4 years ago | (#33124914)

I had to.

No, you didn't.

In the past, there was no color (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33124650)

That's an intriguing way to put these old pictures into context (or to give historic meaning to present-day buildings). Even more interesting is the effect of historic pictures in color: Somehow the grayscale pictures create a distance that isn't really there. The Empire That Was Russia [loc.gov] is a collection of color pictures from Russia during the first decade of the 20th century. They were taken as sequences of individual exposures with color filters.

Brillant! (1)

GooberToo (74388) | about 4 years ago | (#33124680)

Those are simply awesome!

The sad thing is, if you're under the age of 30, the vast majority of Americans can't relate to WWII in the least. You ask the average American on the street and they don't know the difference between WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, or the Gulf War.

Plus, even young aviation enthusiasts tend to have a low regard and no interest for any aircraft which isn't jet powered. Meaning, another area of interest which now has a complete disconnection from WWI and WWII history.

Re:Brillant! (1, Flamebait)

Goeland86 (741690) | about 4 years ago | (#33124974)

The pictures are amazing, and I wish there were more of them to be done that way!

Regarding the rest of your comment, I beg to differ!

I'm in the "under 30" category, and I know a great many deal of people my age or younger, who care about history, learn as much as they can about it, and have hobbies that usually involve modelling or simulating WWII-era war machines.

The sad part is that most of those youngsters are also the first ones to enroll in the armed forces, and too few of them ever make it back from the two battlefields we currently have going on.

But that being said, all you need to do to go see how many WWII "warbirds" are being modelled in 3D on the net, or by remote-controlled airplane pilots to notice they're not disappearing in popularity at all. They're just ever so present that most people accept them as part of their heritage, the same way they'll consider the tradition of Thanksgiving. It's so pervasive it's lost a lot of its impact.

Re:Brillant! (1, Flamebait)

jellomizer (103300) | about 4 years ago | (#33125012)

Sure the differences are easy...

WWI we went against Germany.

WWII we fought Germany and Japan (2 countries so world war 2)

Korean War we went in Korea.

Vietnam Ware we went in Vietnam

Gulf War we whined and complained how nasty BP is. Because the CEO wasn't a good political speaker.

Re:Brillant! (0, Offtopic)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 4 years ago | (#33125950)

WWII we fought Germany and Japan (2 countries so world war 2)

If by "we" you only mean Americans, then you forgot to include Italy.

If by "we" you mean Allies as a whole, then you forgot to include Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and a few more smaller fish as well.

Re:Brillant! (0, Offtopic)

GooberToo (74388) | about 4 years ago | (#33126168)

Gulf War we whined and complained how nasty BP is. Because the CEO wasn't a good political speaker.

If by "we" you only mean Americans, then you forgot to include Italy.

If by "we" you mean Allies as a whole, then you forgot to include Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and a few more smaller fish as well.

Relax. He used it as a platform for a joke. A rather good joke IMOHO. Hopefully we can agree a joke need not be historically accurate to be funny.

Re:Brillant! (1)

qoncept (599709) | about 4 years ago | (#33125022)

30? Did you make a point that made complete sense, then arbitrarily change a number to better suit your ego? I wouldn't think any American under maybe 75 could relate to WWII better than anyone else.

Re:Brillant! (1)

wed128 (722152) | about 4 years ago | (#33125450)

I think he meant that anyone under about 30 hasn't been able to talk to people that were present at WWII.

I'm 25, and my grandfather fought in Korea. I have heard plenty of Korean war stories, but not so many WWII stories. The most WWII education i have is from either high school or Call of Duty.

People over about 30 years old probably have parents/grandparents that could tell them stories about the war. I wasn't so lucky. I actually know almost nothing about the First World War. off to Wikipedia i go!

Re:Brillant! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#33125680)

Because they havent tried. I introduced my daughter to a WW-II vet last week. He served in the army and was in one of the last pushes for Berlin. He had mentioned that he was not much older than her (she is 18) when he was fighting over there.

Re:Brillant! (2, Informative)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about 4 years ago | (#33125818)

I'm only 27, and my maternal grandfather was a WW2 vet, but he was really reticent about discussing his experiences. The only stories he would ever tell me were pretty tame anecdotes about a few humorous events. I think the gruesome things that he saw in terms of blown up, mangled corpses were not only painful for him to recall but I think he thought it was in poor taste to talk about those things. I don't begrudge him his perspective.

Re:Brillant! (1)

chebucto (992517) | about 4 years ago | (#33126242)

Likewise for me. I'm around your age and my maternal grandfather, who is in his early 90s now, served for about 3 years during the war. The only stories I've gotten out of him are of the humorous anecdote variety, and I've never pressed for more.

OTOH, my paternal grandfather, who I never saw, was a medic in Europe after d-day. We still have his personal diary from that time and , as you might imagine, it has some pretty unpleasant sections.

I suspect they don't tell us these things because we would see them differently if we knew what they had seen and what they had done. Fighting for your country is all well and good but shooting someone or blowing someone up is morally difficult, even in the context of war.

Re:Brillant! (2, Interesting)

mikael_j (106439) | about 4 years ago | (#33127772)

Well, I'm in my mid-late twenties and all my grandparents are/were old enough to remember the war years but the most I've ever heard about it from any of them was my paternal grandfather mentioning how everything was rationed. Of course, he was only in his teens at the time, wasn't like he was a soldier or anything...

(Please note: I'm european so my perspective might be a bit different, I've been a student at a university where to this day there are visible signs of the fighting (bullet and shrapnel damage on the walls) that I would walk by practically every day and my history lessons in grade school were with a german woman who told us stories of how terrified she was when the apartment building she lived in got hit by allied bombs while she was hiding in the basement and how the civilian population in Germany experienced the war)

Re:Brillant! (2, Insightful)

GooberToo (74388) | about 4 years ago | (#33125710)

I wouldn't think any American under maybe 75 could relate to WWII

Those over the age of thirty have a much better chance of relating to the technology base. As someone else pointed out, it was a lot easier to talk with someone who was actually in those wars. Likewise, many more civilians were also private pilots. Many of the instructors were war pilots - or at least someone you stand a chance of bumping into at the airport.

These days, the number of WWII vets who are still alive are quickly dwindling. Which is why there are active projects to record their stories. Unfortunately, it doesn't change the fact, that in an era of endless plentiful, most American's can not begin to appreciate the sacrifices even the civilians made to further the war effort.

My statement was not made to be snide and no, I didn't arbitrarily adjust the age; though low 30-ish is likely more accurate now. That's the age most studies indicates a rapid falloff takes place in awareness of those wars and the associated technology base.

Re:Brillant! (1)

dsoltesz (563978) | about 4 years ago | (#33125964)

I think we can all "relate" to war and the death and destruction it entails.

Re:Brillant! (1)

GooberToo (74388) | about 4 years ago | (#33126124)

WWII was much, much more than that. You can only relate if you've taken an active interest to allow yourself to relate to those wars. And if you have done so, you absolutely are not the average American.

Hard work (1)

hammer_gaidin (1771328) | about 4 years ago | (#33124714)

The best part about this is the fact that they had to recreate the exact angle of the original photos. Great Job!

Re:Hard work (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33125050)

A little more than that, also as close as possible (after taking into account differences in frame size) focal lenght.

Re:Hard work (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#33125716)

Actually not hard. I have done this with a laptop, the right software and a camera that allows full time preview.

you put the old photo on the screen at a 25% transparent setting and over the cameras live view, move the tripod and adjust zoom until you got the shot. click.

Low tech : print the old photo on a tranparency and hold it in front of the lens until it all lines up.

Re:Hard work (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33125914)

Yeah, but it's not something readily done on a whim, as you yourself said. With traffic around; and possibly all the equipment... (especially considering Russia)

Re:Hard work (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33125998)

PS. Could you point me to thesolution / software / etc. you've used? I'll be setting up a decent stop motion rig at some future point in time, maybe things I've found & will find aren't the most optimal ones.

photshop (1)

Bizzeh (851225) | about 4 years ago | (#33124772)

whats a photshop?

Re:photshop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33124870)

A really grooooovy place to buy, er, um... medical supplies.
Got any cheetos?

Blending (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33124776)

They didn't do a great job blending the new and old together. I guess that was their artistic choice, but I don't like it.

And why is this in idle? (1)

eastlight_jim (1070084) | about 4 years ago | (#33124834)

There's always someone saying things should or shouldn't be in idle but surely this is one of the cases where it shouldn't be?

There's been nothing but positive reviews of this guy's work here so far (and one Soviet Russia joke)

Re:And why is this in idle? (1)

bcmm (768152) | about 4 years ago | (#33125708)

Because, while it's awesome, it's not really on-topic. Idle is, presumably, supposed to be a general section that covers the sorts of things blogs without a definite direction cover, rather than the mostly tech/open source stuff Slashdot traditionally covers.

I'll agree that this is the best thing by a very long way that I've seen in Idle so far.

Very well done? REALLY? (-1, Flamebait)

denzacar (181829) | about 4 years ago | (#33124866)

Unless those photos were photoshopped by a retarded 4-year-old with limited eyesight on one eye - I don't see how can those be regarded as anything but pathetic.

Re:Very well done? REALLY? (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 years ago | (#33124938)

The point was to look at place years after they had been destroyed and to contrast the iece of history with now. NOT to make it seem like it's happening right now.

Seriously, get with it.

Re:Very well done? REALLY? (1)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | about 4 years ago | (#33125052)

First off, I think images are very interesting and I congratulate the artist who made them. Finding the right locations, and getting the camera angles correct was no doubt a challenge. The idea itself is brilliant.

However, I agree with the GP that the photo-shopping/blending aspect looks somehow amateurish, and breaks me out of what would otherwise be a very sublime experience I think. The problem is that the fading between the two photos seems haphazard. I understand that the point of the photos is to show the contrast between the two time periods. As such, you want it to be clear that there are two photos being overlaid. However it just looks weird to have, for example, people be half-erased. The artist could have instead defined a blending edge that didn't cut across any people (or cars, etc.) so that each sub-region of the image looked fully-formed and thus more real. I think this would have made the effect more powerful. Two realities/time-periods side-by-side, rather than two photos one on top of the other.

Of course, I can fully appreciate that art is ultimately a very subjective thing. So the artist may indeed have had good reasons for doing it the way he has. My own personal impressions are just that: my own.

Re:Very well done? REALLY? (2, Interesting)

denzacar (181829) | about 4 years ago | (#33127074)

The problem is that the fading between the two photos seems haphazard. I understand that the point of the photos is to show the contrast between the two time periods. As such, you want it to be clear that there are two photos being overlaid. However it just looks weird to have, for example, people be half-erased. The artist could have instead defined a blending edge that didn't cut across any people (or cars, etc.) so that each sub-region of the image looked fully-formed and thus more real. I think this would have made the effect more powerful.

Exactly!

Almost any one of those "then and now" photos where people hold up an old photo of a location while taking a photo of it now beat this collection in every aspect possible.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tinflower/3611307186/ [flickr.com]
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uwgbadmissions/3947916581/ [flickr.com]
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uwgbadmissions/3768986885/in/set-72157621758292209/ [flickr.com]

Those have both an artistic AND journalistic feel to them.
The fact that you see the hand holding the photo actually connects you the viewer (cause it is seen from your perspective - as if it is your own hand), the person taking the photo (cause he/she is right there in the photo) and the location in both past and present.

 
The way those photos in the article are done now the final result just seems lazy.
Slap two photos of the same location one on top of the other, and then run around the edges with an eraser tool. Ta-DAH!

No skill, no art - just a gimmick that was old back in the '90s.

Re:Very well done? REALLY? (1)

eyrieowl (881195) | about 4 years ago | (#33127348)

Well, I agree as well. I first went to go look at the photos, then came to the comments because I was certain I couldn't be the only one who didn't think they were so very well done. Great concept, could use some more time cooking in photoshop.

Re:Very well done? REALLY? (2, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | about 4 years ago | (#33124990)

Spoken like someone who has never created a work of art. There is more value there than the technical expertise require to create it, just like there is more value to a painting than the technical expertise of the paint strokes.

Content is everything.

Re:Very well done? REALLY? (1)

chronosan (1109639) | about 4 years ago | (#33125854)

Nah, the medium is the message, the content is the audience.

Re:Very well done? REALLY? (1)

dsoltesz (563978) | about 4 years ago | (#33126190)

Exactly. When I saw these photos a few days ago, I immediately recognized the lack of technical skill... however, I was still moved to tears (yeah, I'm a girl, get over it) and several other emotions. These images are simple yet powerfully evocative and completely fantastic as is. The sense of seeing ghosts, or better yet, viewing a memory through someone else's senses is amazing.

Despite the lack of technical skill, the artist achieved the goal of having me feel that I was standing in another's shoes. And the fact is, he got better at it with practice. With some work (and a good drawing tablet), he could easily learn to rework these photos to eliminate the technical rawness that distracts the eye and impedes the viewer's immersion in the work and its meaning. I won't hold my breath - I'm more than satisfied with what he has chosen to share with us.

Actually... No. (2, Insightful)

denzacar (181829) | about 4 years ago | (#33127722)

Despite the lack of technical skill, the artist achieved the goal of having me feel that I was standing in another's shoes.

I am guessing here, but I am quite certain that you were actually moved by the original art and authenticity of the old photos he picked for their "power".

Kinda like how an old song sung by an "American Idol" star doesn't get better - it was good to begin with. At best, it will be "OK". At worst... well...
And it works the same way for "professionals" too. [youtube.com]

And no amount of hardware can make an artist out of a hack. Particularly not a tablet in this case.
To fix those, one would need to use some actual elbow grease PLUS something the "artist" clearly lacks - the eye of a photographer.
Cause those photos he used are not photographs. Those are snapshots.

Not a single impressive point in any of them. They are completely expressionless and "dead".
Why? Cause he was taking photos of dead things - buildings. Whoever was taking those old photos was taking photos of living people.
Living people doing "important things". Meaningful things. Things worth being preserved for posterity.

In the new photos people are there simply by accident. Utterly meaningless and completely unmotivated.
Those photos don't contrast - they clash.

Pretty mediocre photographic fakery Artistboy! (1)

ThatsLoseNotLoose (719462) | about 4 years ago | (#33124876)

You've cut off all their feet!

So what? (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about 4 years ago | (#33124956)

SA goons do this all the time.

I'm sorry (0, Troll)

UncleWilly (1128141) | about 4 years ago | (#33124994)

I'm sorry, I think it's stupid

missing picture (0, Offtopic)

maestroX (1061960) | about 4 years ago | (#33125066)

begin troll ... Gulf of Mexico before and after the spil ... end troll

This is just a small sampling... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33125152)

He's done quite a few: http://sergey-larenkov.livejournal.com/ [livejournal.com]

Locations (1)

bcmm (768152) | about 4 years ago | (#33125180)

I recognise a few of the places in the photos, and would really like to know where the others are. If there isn't a page identifying them somewhere, shall we make a list here?

I'll start: sergeylarenkov12.jpg shows Soviet soldiers in front of the Reichstag building, Berlin.

Re:Locations (1)

bcmm (768152) | about 4 years ago | (#33125394)

The first two are the Reichstag too.

Re:Locations (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | about 4 years ago | (#33125648)

The fourth one is in Russia, like many of the photos there. You can tell it's Russia when there's little difference between the background and the overlaid photos.

Re:Locations (4, Informative)

strupet (995426) | about 4 years ago | (#33125790)

Hei!

sergeylarenkov000.jpg (3rd photo) is Hofburg in Vienna, Austria ->http://goo.gl/M7r8
sergeylarenkov11.jpg (11th photo) is Paulanergasse in Vienna ->http://goo.gl/GDJ2 (right next to the TU Wien)

one of the others seems to me like Budapest, Hungary - but i'm not sure.

Greetings from Vienna!

ßeta

Re:Locations (2, Informative)

kenner116 (1870210) | about 4 years ago | (#33127930)

Almost half of these photos are in St. Petersburg. The building with the golden dome next to the anti-aircraft gun is Saint Isaac's Cathedral. The tank driving under an arch with a column in the background is near the Hermitage and Palace Square. The next photo has the Kazan Cathedral, and the photo after that looks like St. Pete, but I'm not certain. The photo with soldiers marching with the river on the right has the Peter and Paul Fortress in the background. The following photo with the kids in the street has the Russian Admiralty building in the background. A couple of others (soldiers marching with river on left and the next one with the Jazz Philharmonic sign) also look a lot like St. Pete.

Wow! Chicks can do PS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33125316)

Never thought that possible. And about 'war? What chicks ever been to war, not counting Faker Jessica?

Good idle post (1)

Yuioup (452151) | about 4 years ago | (#33125324)

Finally a good idle post...

Photoshop skills aside (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 4 years ago | (#33125342)

The photographer's photoshop skills are not much better than the average PS user but I think where these doctored photographs would resonate most is with people wo actually know the places in the pictures. I do not know them so they have little meaning for me.

And come on, it is not like WWII is ancient history. It is just one average lifetime ago.

Shamefully there is still war being waged lots of places in the world at any given time. I think pictures from current conflicts would have a lot more impact and would not require doctoring!

Your right (3, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 4 years ago | (#33126226)

I lived near "A bridge to far" and in some movies, that is very eary. You realize your house is one of the landing fields. But then, I used to often go past a spot in the woods were if you went of the bicycle path a little bit, down, there was a small monument were people were killed by the germans.

If a german asks the way, I point them in the wrong direction. It is how I was raised. I might be silly after so many decades, but it is better then forgetting.

Flight over Warsaw in 1945 (1)

ytm (892332) | about 4 years ago | (#33125346)

Here is a digital reconstruction of the city of ruins in 1945: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXD51CY8DkA [youtube.com] Google Earth historical imagery also has aerial photos of Warsaw from '30s, 1945 and present.

Good idea, poor execution. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about 4 years ago | (#33125702)

It's a great idea, but the execution is absolutely awful. The guy clearly spent time getting the angle of the contemporary photos right, but was completely sloppy with his production work. It looks like he got lazy, or he's not particularly good with Photoshop. Instead of just going with messy fades, he should have cropped the imposed images with more precision, so that it looked like those old scenes were more integrated as opposed to being merely superimposed. It would have been more striking and would have given these compositions are more otherworldly feel. Although, my personal preference would have been to shoot the new scenes in black and white and then composed the two together so that they blended more seamlessly, like the two time periods had become one.

Re:Good idea, poor execution. (1)

EkriirkE (1075937) | about 4 years ago | (#33126256)

Looks like someone just discovered the feathered eraser

Re:Good idea, poor execution. (1)

GooberToo (74388) | about 4 years ago | (#33126688)

Leave it to /. to analyze the technical merit while completely ignoring the creation itself. The creation need not be technical excellence to deliver its creative intent.

Look at many of the world's famous paintings and its easy to understand why they were absolutely not appreciated within the artist's lifetime. But if you allow yourself to go beyond the surface - awe-striking wonder can frequently be found.

There absolutely are facets of those pictures I would do completely different. Many have actually been addressed here by other comments. Just the same, I don't believe it diminishes the creation itself.

Re:Good idea, poor execution. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33126818)

>It's a great idea, but the execution is absolutely awful.

And yet he's on the front page of slashdot while you're relagated to whining from the peanut gallery.

Fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33125726)

Obviously faked. You can see these are two different pictures! Come back when you learn Photoshop.

Idle (1)

Prien715 (251944) | about 4 years ago | (#33125962)

I think this is quite easily the best thing I've ever seen on idle. Thanks!

Retouching (2, Insightful)

wayward_bruce (988607) | about 4 years ago | (#33126670)

It should be worth noting that the "photoshopping" means using Adobe Photoshop. Retouching is the word for a general process of photo modification regardless of the software used. In short, every time someone says "photoshopped", they are advertising Adobe Photoshop for no compensation. :)

It happened. (1)

aaandre (526056) | about 4 years ago | (#33126676)

War happened, in Europe, and people who lived through it are still alive and a part of the mass consciousness. One of the reasons Europeans are less turned on by war than US-anians.

Somebody from the eastern USA (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 4 years ago | (#33127178)

Somebody from the eastern USA needs to trek out to the Civil War battlefields and try this. All the Mathew Brady photos are in the public domain.

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