Sunday, May 6, 2012
Sergey Larenkov: World War II Scenes in the Present
Posted by Jay at 9:37 PM
The previous feature on the Dear Photograph blog was a nice, happy and nostalgic look at some personal family events in the past as seen in the present. But what about historic world events as seen through the lens of the present? Sergey Larenkov shows how its done by embedding World War II scenes in the present in his blog, "Link to the Past".
Sergey Larenkov is an amateur photographer in name, but his pictures line up with old photographs so perfectly that the term "amateur" doesn't quite cut it. His passion for photography and history led him to travel to different cities in Europe which experienced the heaviest fighting in World War II, looking at scenes in old pictures as his guide and taking the same ones in the present.
Larenkov's labor of love took almost two years as he had to travel to these different locales, and he continues to do so because of the positive responses he's received for his photoblog. Larenkov has visited a number of cities, including Paris, Berlin, Prague, and Leningrad (present day St. Petersburg).
Larenkov was inspired by the stories of his grandparents on both sides who were working or fighting in the beseiged city of Leningrad. This led him to look at old photos of the city blockade, which eventually led him to putting the old in the perspective of the new. After a while, his images of World War II blended into the present went viral.
In order to achieve the desired effect, Larenkov had to travel to the exact spot the original photographs were taken and point the camera at just the right angle. In some cases he had to travel to the area several time to get the best shot, but his hard work paid off as all of his pictures-in-pictures line up perfectly, giving viewers the exact view of the past and the present at the same time.
The passion that Larenkov put into his work contrasts greatly his the subject matter. In many, if not most of his scenes, gunfire, violence, panic and destruction take center stage in the decades-old images, which are then surrounded by peaceful, idyllic, joyful, and even mundane scenes of the present. It's hard to imagine that in some areas today, death was an almost everyday occurrence.
These photographs within photographs are indeed awe-inspiring, but Larenkov created them not just to attract the praise of online viewers, but to remind everyone about the gruesome causes and effects of war, so take your time and look through the images, and give a nod of appreciation to the men and women who laid down their lives for the future generations living in the now.
There's a lot more World War II scenes in the present over at Sergey Larenkov's photoblog, Link to the Past. For a more lighthearted look at pictures within pictures, you might want to check out the Dear Photograph blog.