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Historic Present: old photos overlapped over real locations


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Photographer Sungseok Ahn has created a photo project called “Historic Present” that consists of overlapping old black-and-white images over real locations in order to put the past in contrast with the present.

A lot of people will try to tell you that you should not live in the past and that you should ignore it as much as possible. However, we think that we can learn from the past and we can be inspired by it. It is a privilege that technology has advanced to the point where we can see what the past looked like and that historians have kept a log of what happened many years ago.

A source of inspiration is exactly what a lot of photographers need to stand out from the crowd. For South Korea-based photographer Sungseok Ahn, the past has become his muse.

The artist has created a photo series, which he named as “Historic Present”. It consists of putting old images of structures, that are still standing today, over the current locations in order to show us a contrast between the past and the present.

“Historic Present” project consists of old photos overlapped over present locations

Sungseok Ahn is a photographer who enjoys carrying around a large projector. His setup also includes a screen where he can project old images. However, the locations, where the projector is placed, are identical to the ones in the old black-and-white photos.

The artist then sets up his camera in a spot that makes the image and the location fit perfectly. Usually, he is a part of the final photo, sometimes appearing as a ghostly figure, probably due to of the long exposure times.

As the present includes a photo of the past, the name of this project has become “Historic Present” – a neat idea with pretty amazing results.

Sungseok Ahn explores the dynamics of ever-changing space and time

The photographer has been born in Seoul, South Korea back in 1985. He studied photography at the Sangmyung University and he has had his photos displayed in numerous exhibitions. Additionally, he has also been granted a few awards and prizes for his brilliant works.

Sungseok Ahn says that the project is meant to show how the landscape is changing. We need to question the past and this can be done by juxtaposing an old photo of a building over the current location.

The photos are taken from roughly the same place in order to see how the dynamics of an area has changed over the years, as stated above. The South Korean artist also has a personal website where anybody can check out his stunning works.

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