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A Unique Glimpse at World War II Through Rephotography

A photographic whiz from Russia offers a unique way to time travel--by providing a glimpse of the ghostly wartime yesteryears merged with the present. But Sergey Larenkov warns that some images of the war-torn past may not be pleasant.

If you want to travel back in time to see Russia and Europe during World War II, Russian photographer Sergey Larenkov says he can do it for you—through eerie and interesting photo collages. Using photos of war-torn Europe and Russia as his reference, Larenkov takes modern-day snapshots of some historical landmarks and puts them together by feathering to create unique “then and now” images.

This process is called rephotography—wherein, as the term suggests, a reference site is re-photographed to show the difference between two periods. It’s not exactly simple, since there are actually many factors to consider when taking the “now” photographs (camera angle, coverage of lenses, and depth of field, to name a few), but Larenkov’s jaw-dropping work makes it look like child’s play.

Mehringdamm, Berlin (1945/2010)
Hotel Astoria, St. Petersburg, then Leningrad (1942/2010)
Moscow (1941-2009)
Imperial Palace Hoffburg, Vienna (1945/2010)
Avenue Foch with the Arc de Triomphe in the background, Paris (1940/2010)

While rephotography today is obviously done the digital way, who says we cannot do this time traveling technique on film? Go ahead and rummage through your old photographs, your town’s library and records, or even in historical archives all over the Internet. Pick a landmark, carry a copy of the aged snapshot of your choice, and carefully compose your photo to take the similar angle. Then, you can make a quick and casual side-by-side comparison using your photos. But if you manage to capture your landmark with an angle similar to the original photo, try merging them to create a unique composite, just like Larenkov’s!

All photos by Sergey Larenkov. Visit his blog for more of his amazing work!

Sources/Additional Readings:
Rephotography on Wikipedia
Gallery of Rephotography Shows WWII in Today’s Cities on Wired

written by plasticpopsicle

1 comment

  1. sthomas68

    sthomas68

    Oh wow.....that looks like a challenging thing to do!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam