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Using Nothing But A Camera And Some Vintage Photos, He Sent Paris Back In Time

By taking vintage photos out into the streets of Paris, he brings decades-old scenes and subjects back to life.

Many of the colorized photo collections we’ve covered here on ViralNova have one thing in common, and it’s that the differences between those before-and-after images are pretty stark.

And that’s what makes them so fascinating. By adding color to monochromatic photographs, artists blur the line between us and them by forcing us to confront history in hues that we recognize. Although they’re beautiful, the experience of viewing such photographs is often jarring. That is a deliberate stylistic choice.

But French photographer Julien Knez wanted to take a different approach to this concept by merging different worlds into seamless images that weave vintage photographs into the fabric of contemporary Paris.

After finding photographs from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Knez decided to bring these iconic scenes and subjects back into the fold.

Tour Eiffel, 1900

Place de l’Opéra, 1940

Instead of placing the images side by side, he tracked down every location and created new pictures that fuse the past and the present.

Jardin du Luxembourg, 1895

Arc de Triomphe, 1909

“The contemporary spectator is plunged into the depths of time,” he writes. “They’re given the opportunity to stroll through history in the making.”

Odéon, Station Métro, 1910

Place de l’Opéra, 1940

This journey back in time is more nuanced than most. Knez’s subjects feel close enough to touch.

La Seine, Notre Dame, 1930

Le Printemps, Boulevard Haussmann, 1930

His work gives off the illusion that the only things separating us from them are photographic borders.

Le Grand Palais, 1944

Boulevard Saint-Denis, 1910

(via BoredPanda)

The artist compiled more images like these into a book called “Paris: Fenêtres sur l’Histoire,” which you can pick up on Amazon. To learn more about Julien Knez’s work, check out his website. For regular updates, follow him on Facebook!