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 Jo Teeuwisse - Ghosts of World War II

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nordmann
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PostSubject: Jo Teeuwisse - Ghosts of World War II   Mon 11 Feb 2013, 09:06

A very simple concept - but incredibly difficult to realise well.

Dutch photographer and historian Jo Teeuwisse was inspired to attempt it all the same when she found 300 negatives in a flea market in her home town. They depicted Amsterdam in the closing weeks of German occupation and the city's subsequent liberation. First identifying the location in the original print (not at all as easy as it might sound), then taking a photograph of the scene in its modern manifestation, she then manipulated both in PhotoShop so that the human subjects in the old populated the new. Such was the popularity of her initial attempt published on FlickR that she then ventured further afield, within the Netherlands and in to France and Germany, to produce even more stunning portraits from the same period.

The effect of placing someone from the past into a starkly mundane and modern setting as Teeuwisse has done can produce a palpable sense of pathos. Some work better than others but I am sure you will agree that all of them are interesting. Some examples here courtesy of PetaPixel:





















Literally hundreds more examples of her work can be found on FlickR - (little too much cat stuff there but the "ghost" prints are fascinating!)

Jo Teeuwisse on FlickR
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PostSubject: Re: Jo Teeuwisse - Ghosts of World War II   Mon 11 Feb 2013, 10:23

Great find, nordmann. What potential there is in that idea - possibly done before yet unexploited. I can only do this with imposed imagination - or in a rare instance other ways. It is always a chilling thought; that all things pass and how fast are our hours.
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PostSubject: Re: Jo Teeuwisse - Ghosts of World War II   Mon 11 Feb 2013, 10:42

Jo Hedwig is not your common or garden historian. She is a member of a group who call themselves "Historisch Adviees Bureau 30-45" and which provides consultancy work for filmmakers and the like who wish to recreate authentic settings from the period. Not only that but she lives in a 1930s house and - as she calls it - "a 1930s lifestyle", spurning clothes, furniture and labour-saving devices manufactured since then (though her PhotoShop work suggests some leniency in the application of that rule).

My own favourite from the selection above is the lad slumped exhausted or wounded on the steps.
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PostSubject: Re: Jo Teeuwisse - Ghosts of World War II   Mon 11 Feb 2013, 11:00

Great photos Nordmann, thankyou for posting them.

I had Dutch friends in Australia who lived through the Nazi occupation, the tales they told have never left me. One was of the lady hiding in a wall cavity whilst in labour with her first child, and having to be quiet while German soldiers ransacked their house and looked for men for the labour camps. These photos rather bring home their stories for me, after all these years. Unimaginable to live with that degree of fear on a daily basis.
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PostSubject: Re: Jo Teeuwisse - Ghosts of World War II   Mon 11 Feb 2013, 13:41

Agreed, a very good concept. I have seen some of the "After the Battle" books, but that was landscapes during the war and how they look now.
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PostSubject: Re: Jo Teeuwisse - Ghosts of World War II   Mon 11 Feb 2013, 21:40

It's a technique which has been around for a while in terms of moving film. For example I distinctly remember a BBC news report on the 50th anniversary of Hitler's speech in the Heldenplatz in Vienna following the Anschluss. The director cleverly used archive black-and-white footage of the event from 15 March 1938 which then merged seamlessly into colour footage of Vienna as it appeared (mundane traffic, pedestrians and all) in 1988 with the camera in exactly the same location with exactly the same view. And it's more than likely that such vision-mixing well pre-dates even the 1980s.

What Jo Teeuwisse has achieved, however, is remarkable in that (as nordmann points out) the identifying of the locations is no mean feat in itself. The Heldenplatz in Vienna is one thing, but a nameless stone staircase beside a stone wall (for example) doesn't give one much to go on in terms of identification. It's a superb body of work.
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