There is something mesmerizing about looking at vintage photos. We love to step back in time and into the scene. Something is alluring about the attire of the people, their composure and elegance, and the contextual mysteries that we may never resolve. When we admire these photos, we realize how ephemeral printed photography is, and this is in extreme contrast to the durability of photo media presented on a digital platform. So many images whiz by us daily via social media that we simply lose our memory of their content. The ephemeral, yet tangible quality is often what gives the printed photos value. Traditional aesthetics of vintage photography has become an avenue for many artists wanting to eternalize these moments of time’s past.
Below is a selection of three very different artists who have incorporated interesting vintage photos into their work.
English artist Julie Cockburn (1966) reinvents vintage photographs by cutting and sewing them into complex kaleidoscopic collages, giving these enchanting photos a psychedelic experience.
Canadian photographer Amy Friend has gained notoriety thanks to her Giving Birth series. The photos in this series are distinctively manually manipulated with many dots, bring new light to the past and illuminating the artist’s presence.
Jose Romussi is a Chilean artist living in Berlin who continues to experiment with different techniques of photo manipulation. Notably, in his series Dance, we see vintage photographs reworked with colorful embroidered inserts.