Photos: Costică Acsinte; Manipulations: Jane Long
Earlier this year, we wrote about the Costică Acsinte Archive, a project aiming to restore and digitize a damaged, near-forgotten archive of images captured by early 20th-century Romanian photographer Costică Acsinte.
The haunting treasure trove of more than 5,000 glass plate negatives and prints were bequeathed to the Ialomița County History Museum in Slobozia one year after Acsinte's death in 1984. Sadly, during the interim between his death and the museum's acquisition, the fragile negatives and prints suffered irreparable damage caused by improper storage.
The archive sat in the museum for 30 years until Cesar Popescu — the son of a photographer who once worked with Acsinte's son — decided to start the resoration project. Thanks to Popescu's hard work, the project has digitized more than 3,000 of these erie images, which can be viewed and downloaded on Flickr Commons.
Because the images fell into the public domain in 1991, they are free for anyone to use and modify. Inspired by Acsinte's striking work, Australian conceptual artist Jane Long is revisiting the archive with her own surreal renditions, like the one above, titled "Beacon."
"I will probably never know the real stories of these people," Long explains, "But in my mind, they became characters in tales of my own invention … star crossed lovers, a girl waiting for her lover to come home, boys sharing a fantasy, innocent children with a little hint of something dark."
Continue below to see how a splash of color and a fistful of whimsy can transport you to a mysterious world of goldfish jumping through fire hoops and violin-loving skeleton birds.
All Hands On Deck
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