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Artist Photoshops Scenes From WWII Into Present Day 150

Posted by samzenpus
from the then-and-now dept.
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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Artist Photoshops Scenes From WWII Into Present Day

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  • by jbarr (2233) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @10:46AM (#33124514) Homepage

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

    • Try in b&w (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sznupi (719324) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @11:11AM (#33124966) Homepage

      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...)

      • Call of Duty really made WWII seem like a fun colorful war opposed to the bleak greyscale war it actually was.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @10:46AM (#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.

    • by shoptroll (544006)

      Agreed. Very impressive.

      • by SkyDude (919251)
        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 (Score:2, Insightful)

      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.

      • by eln (21727)
        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.
      • by mark-t (151149)
        The idea, I think, is to give a "ghostly" quality to the old image. It accomplishes this spectacularly, IMO.
        • by GooberToo (74388)

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

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        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.

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

    • by sznupi (719324)

      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.

  • 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: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Goeland86 (741690)
      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 ba
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by jellomizer (103300)

      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.

    • by qoncept (599709)
      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.
      • by wed128 (722152)

        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!

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          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: (Score:3, Informative)

          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.
          • by chebucto (992517)

            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

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mikael_j (106439)

          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

          • by GooberToo (74388)

            I'm european

            Please note, Europeans do not fall in the same category as Americans. Americans are extremely myopic, uneducated, and ignorant in general. Plus, Europeans, unlike Americans, had to live through rebuilding of their cities. This means another generation saw the damage and learned about it first hand. Many Europeans still have monuments in both big and little cities denoting significant events of that war. Its entirely a different culture, mindset, and environment. As such, many Europeans still have some conne

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by GooberToo (74388)

        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. Unfortu

    • by dsoltesz (563978)
      I think we can all "relate" to war and the death and destruction it entails.
      • by GooberToo (74388)

        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.

    • by vertinox (846076)

      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.

      And what's even sader is that the American's who do know about WWII know nothing about the eastern front.

      Let's put it this way...

      US forces only suffered about 500,000 dead during WWII and only faced a fraction of the German forces in Africa, France, and Germa

      • by vertinox (846076)

        Oh and note... There is some incongruity between the casualty and force ratio simply because, Americans tended to capture large amounts of German soldiers while on the Eastern front, they tended to fight the Russians until there was no option left.

        Of course, towards the end of the war, many German units walked across the eastern front to the eastern to surrendered to the Americans.

        You really need to understand the context of why though.

        • by GooberToo (74388)

          Of course, towards the end of the war, many German units walked across the eastern front to the eastern to surrendered to the Americans.

          Most Americans not only have no idea such things too place, but would have no idea why they would specifically want to surrender to Americans.

          After the fall of of the Soviet Union, released papers indicate that as late as the late 50's, some of the last WWII German's were still rotting in Soviet prisons. A huge chunk died from torture, starvation, so on and so on. Some just simply disappeared while being moved to another prison. That is, they checked out and simply never arrived at their destination.

          Thanks

    • Its funny you mention this. I realized the other day something interesting. My grandfather was in WWII. He was born about as far after the Civil War as my son was born after WWII.Both were born about 60years distant. That kinda puts it into perspective a bit. A lot of how my son will think and feel about WWII will be how my grandfather thought and felt about the Civil War.
  • 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)

    • by bcmm (768152)
      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.
  • SA goons do this all the time.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @11:26AM (#33125152)
    He's done quite a few: http://sergey-larenkov.livejournal.com/ [livejournal.com]
  • 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.
    • by bcmm (768152)
      The first two are the Reichstag too.
      • by mobby_6kl (668092)

        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 (Score:4, Informative)

      by strupet (995426) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @12:06PM (#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: (Score:2, Informative)

      by kenner116 (1870210)
      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 st
  • 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.
  • 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 ha

    • by EkriirkE (1075937)
      Looks like someone just discovered the feathered eraser
    • by GooberToo (74388)

      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

  • by Prien715 (251944)

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

  • Retouching (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wayward_bruce (988607)
    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. :)
    • by lwsimon (724555)
      "Photoshopping" means "digital photo manipulation" in the same way that "Kleenex" means "tissue". They've become part of the vernacular.
    • by IBBoard (1128019)

      I normally see "photoshopping" as "faking" (not the greatest connotation for Adobe!). This is more like composition than retouching (which is just fixing up a few bad patches).

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

    • That is an awesome idea! You wouldn't happen to have a link to any especially high-res online copies of Brady's and other contemporary photos, would you? Otherwise, time to Google.

      • by istartedi (132515)

        No, start Googling. The Wiki article on the battle of Antietam (aka Sharpsburg) did have contemporary and historic photos of that battlefield. I'm sure there are many others. With a proper search, combined with Creative Commons content from places like Flickr, you might even luck out and get the right angles without having to leave your living room.

    • by lwsimon (724555)
      !!!

      I'm Googling now for images of nearby battles/battlefields. I can't get to the east where most of them took place, but I'm sure there are some.

      Hell, even old pictures of the town will be cool.
  • Do not visit this page as if its Photoshop Friday on SomethingAwful, or Worth1000. You will have a sense of disappointed.

    I believe the artist has approached this to provide an interpreted contrast between what a 15 year old sees today in his town, and what happened in that exact spot some 70 years ago.

    This means there is no seamless transitions. But a conceptual overlay.

    The images are striking for their impact.
  • Could be effective to get people over the "It could never happen here / now" mentality.

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