There’s a tendency, when we view photographs of people who are no longer of this world, to project our imaginations onto their lives. Australian photographer and artist Jane Long has done just that, digitally colorizing and manipulating the glass plate photos of Costică Acsinte, a Romanian documentary photographer whose work dates back to World War I.
But Long takes that impulse several steps further, into the uncanny. Where most colorization simply aims to update a photo’s subjects, Long transplants them to an entirely fantastical — yet strangely familiar — universe in a series she calls Dancing with Costică.
Long's creations possess a Seussian playfulness, while also feeling like unnerving fever dreams. Either way, Long has done aspiring photo-manipulation artists a service by making videos of her process.
The results are absorbing to watch. Long's work will be on display at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale in Australia through September 20. If you can't make it to Australia, scroll down to see more before and after images of her work.
This post was first published by Sideshow, a blog and podcast from PRI's SoundWorks and Studio 360.
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