Photographic Time Machine
How to tear the space-time continuum with your bare hands and a camera lens.
By Maria Popova
The transformative power of photography is unquestionable — powerful images can move us emotionally, intellectually and morally. Now, it can also move us across space and time — here are three fascinating photographic projects that do just that.
SIEGE OF LENINGRAD COMPOSITES
Thanks to Google Translate, we understand this project has to do with the 65th anniversary of the Siege of Leningrad — perhaps the biggest military operation fiasco for the Axis powers in WWII. To commemorate the occasion, Russian artist Sergey Larenkov created phenomenal composite images of Leningrad, today’s Saint Petersburg, placing the dramatic events of the Siege in their contemporary context.
The images are a stride-stopping revelation of the scars WWII left, both physical and cultural, reminding us just how much more than architectural restoration it has taken for a healing process to begin.
LOOKING INTO THE PAST
We love seeing one creative project inspire another that plays off of it — a testament to the infectious power of ideas. And that’s why we love Jason Powell’s Looking Into The Past project, inspired by something you may remember from issues past: Michael Hughes’ Souvenirs.
Powell takes historical photographs from The Library of Congress digital archive (another innovative effort we love), prints them out, and holds them up against their respective modern-day location.
From the capital’s architectural icons to the quiet streets of small-town America, the project invites us into a fascinating cultural time machine.
If you find yourself infectiously inspired to tear the space-time continuum, you can contribute your own photographic time capsules to the Flickr group Powell created for the project.
NYC GRID 1961 VS. 2009
A strong city ages so gracefully that despite the colossal changes in the context of its era, the city’s own character remains an unchanged cultural pillar. That’s exactly the kind of vibe you’ll get glimpsing through images of the world’s biggest cosmopolitan icon — New York City — taken in 1961 and 2009.
This time capsule captures our technological and cultural evolution — from cars to fashion to outdoor advertising — yet there’s something oddly comforting in knowing that no matter how all these elements change, the city remains this unchanging force that keeps us centered.
Explore the full collection over at NYC Grid.
Published April 30, 2009