Vintage Photographs Transformed Into Superhero Portraits

Craft & Design

On the heels of yesterday’s comic book love, you’ll enjoy this series of vintage photographs that have been transformed into portraits of superheroes by artist Alex Gross. [via Junk Culture]

14 thoughts on “Vintage Photographs Transformed Into Superhero Portraits

  1. alex gross says:

    to lana’s question, the one on the bottom is commander data. as to everyone who has voiced concern about me destroying antique photographs, please read below. thanks–
    yes i paint on the real cabinet cards. i scan them hi res first so i have a nice record of them as they were.
    as for how i can destroy art, i don’t look at it that way. i have been collecting cabinet photos for over a decade now. i have hundreds, possibly thousands. when you find stack upon stack of them at some flea market or antique store, being offered for a dollar or two, and being purchased by virtually no one, you begin to understand that these photos are being lost to changing times. these are pictures of people’s families. how did they even end up in a flea market in the first place? the sad truth is that most people don’t seem to care about them anymore.
    i care about them and i love them deeply.
    what i am doing to them is giving them a new life and people are actually looking at them again. what’s more, my fundamental rule is to not obscure the face. whatever i do with them, people can still see the person that is in the picture. it’s all about their likeness. sometimes one will be so amazing that i cannot paint on it because i am afraid to ruin it. so i save those.
    what’s more, i often come across doubles, since i buy from some of the same sellers. so in many cases, the photo itself is not a unique object.
    i understand how you feel, but i like the fact that dozens upon dozens of cabinet cards that i have embellished now hang upon walls in peoples homes, instead of in dusty piles in the back of flea market stalls.

  2. deb @spindlejigs says:

    Do you ever do peoples pictures for them? I have some wonderful pictures of my grandfather, and he would approve.

  3. Lisa says:

    These just crack me up. With all the emphasis on recycling and repurposing EVERYWHERE, it’s hard to understand the horror some of the critics are experiencing.

  4. Rachel Hobson says:

    Alex – thank you *so* much for taking the time to chime in and share your thoughtful process. I agree – so much of what I loved about this project (and why I posted it) is because it celebrates something that I see thoughtlessly discarded in thrift & antique stores over and over again. The new life you are giving them is fantastic, and I’m blown away by how seamlessly you create the image around the face of the subject. I cannot imagine the time and work that goes in to that.
    I really appreciate your kind and thoughtful response to the hubbub here. It makes me enjoy the work even more.

  5. Melissa Crews says:

    My mother used to do photography oil painting, but of course did not change the subject to another character. My father was an artist, and I am an oil artist, so I love your imagination and love these photos, but as a person who also loves photography, it bothers me to see them changed, when it is so easy and cheap to make copies of them and then paint the copies. I do understand that people discard them, but I don’t think it’s that they don’t care, they probably do not know who the people are in the photos or how they are related to them. No matter what the reason for discarding them, you found them and gave them a new life. I am glad that you do scan them before you paint them. Even though I did complain a little about using the original, I still love your creativity. Much success to you!

  6. marianne clancy says:

    I have been “painting” over photos for 35 years and started with my own and worked my way up to cabinet and tintypes. There are no creative limits on what you can do with things that are discarded. I also spend hours and hours each week archivally washing glue off old vintage photos and researching who the people are and locating lost relatives. Its all good. Come see my shop on etsy and if you drop me an email I am happy to send you scans of my past painted over vintage photo work. I started posting on flckr but alas couldn’t keep up. Hats off to Alex and all who do anything with these wonderful lost photos.
    maclancy in a search on Etsy, you will find me and my almost 1,000 vintage photos.

  7. eccauqy says:

    February 28th, in help of Western nations, Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to the UN Human Rights Council to convene an emergency meeting, denounced the Government of Syria towards the cruel use of heavy weapons against civilians and also the opposition.
    This really is the UN Human Rights Council since last year, Syria intifada, the fourth to condemn Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
    The United Nations Human Rights Council draft resolution condemning the Syrian authorities, “the use of heavy artillery and tank attacks on residential areas, and has led to thousands of innocent civilians had been killed.” The draft resolution also issued a warning to Syria, some components in the humanitarian crisis in these areas lack food, medicine and fuel, along with the appeal to permit aid agencies to important goods and materials shipped to the hardest hit civilians.
    Syrian ambassador to the UN the Ha Moyi exactly the same day named on the countries concerned ought to quit delivering weapons to the Syrian opposition, inciting sectarian strife “, tend not to let the Syrian people to kill one another. Hamo Yi said, “We reiterate that those claiming to be close friends of the Syrian men and women, in the event you genuinely would like to assist, must immediately cease inciting sectarian violence, to stop providing arms and funds towards the Syrian opposition, usually do not let the Syrian individuals to kill one another.”

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