10    May 20132 comments

Ghosts of War: Bringing historic legacies to the present

What's the relationship between our history and our daily reality?

Each day we walk by our local store, our neighbor's place or the park, without realizing the stories from the past that existed in those same places many years before.

While we often think of history as antique, irrelevant and something out of the past, it  can just as easily be intertwined with the present.

Imagine what it would look like if the ghosts of World War II came back to the streets today. That’s what Dutch historian Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse shows through her Ghosts of War photo series.

Ghosts of war - France; taken prisoner (Courtesy of Jo Hedwig Teeuwise)

The photos depict historic images of WWII soldiers in the streets as they might look in the present. Using modern scenes, she documents past and present through images superimposed on those from the war-torn 1930s and 1940s.

Ghosts of war - Germany; out of action (Courtesy of Jo Hedwig Teeuwise)

Teeuwisse began her project after finding 300 old negatives at a local flea market in Amsterdam. During her research to discover more behind the photos, she decided to create the photos with a different context.

To get the precise photos, she traveled to the sites in the war photos and took a replica image. Using Photoshop, she superimposed ghost-like images of soldiers from old war photos with images taken in the same places across Europe.

Ghosts of War - Corner covered (Courtesy of Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse)

Since she a little girl, Teeuwisse has been fascinated by history and old photos. After studying film, she created the Historical Consultancy 30-45 to help museums, schools and film companies make their productions more historically authentic.

Ghosts of War - France; The other side. (Courtesy of Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse)

By combining historical pictures with photos made on the exact same spot today, I try to make people realise that history is all around us. That where you live, work or go to school, once people fought, died or simply experienced a different kind of life. We are history, history is us. Originally made as part of my research, I now make these combination photos because of my interest for the subject and to try and make people think about the past, remember and respect the sacrifices the generations before us made. - Jo Hedwig Teuwisse

How do you preserve legacies of the past in the present? What do you think of Teeuwisee’s journey back to the days of WWII combined with the present?

To see more photos and learn about her other projects, view her Flickr account and her Facebook page.

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Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Fascinating! Last night I was viewing online my great uncle's (paternal grandmother's brother) World War 1 military records. As there were another 9 brothers (and 2 surviving sisters) I expect to be able to find a lot more of interest.
  2. Great project, well done, very worthwhile, by the historican. Thanks for posting about it. I hadn't heard of it before. -L


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