Jane Long: Fantasy photography

Today we will look at some of the work of an Australian artist who combines photography and photomanipulation to create slightly surreal images that straddle the line between reality and fantasy. 1

Photographer and digital artist Jane Long was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1970, but is now based in Brisbane, Queensland.

Jane is completely self-taught, working with Photoshop since 1994, both commercially and for her own projects. She decided to move into fine art fully in April 2014.

Her first series, “Self-Preservation” received a number of accolades, with the image “Cured” (below) being listed as a semi-finalist for the prestigious Moran Photographic Prize.2

The whole series examines the relationship between attempts at preservation and the inevitable change that brings. 1 Nothing can be preserved without its very nature being changed. Curing the mind and body, or curing foodstuffs. Either way the product is altered in the process of the change. 1 To see more in this series click here.

"Cured" from the "Self-preservation"series. Credit: janelongphotogrpahy.com.au

But today we will look mainly at her next series of enhanced photographs, called “Dancing with Costica.” Here, she transforms cracked and faded black and white photographs into colourful works of fantasy, giving the subjects a new, and entirely surreal context. The images she used for her series, Dancing with Costica, were captured over a half century ago by Costică Acsinte, a Romanian war photographer who documented WWI. 3

The glass-plate photographs by Costica capture the straight faces and intense eyes of the subjects taken long before smiling was common in images. “I wanted to change the context of the images,” says Jane. “Photographic practices at the time meant people rarely smiled in photos but that doesn’t mean they didn’t laugh and love. I wanted to introduce that to the images.” 3

“I wanted to give them a story” 3

Without altering the original subjects too much, just adding colour and fantasy to each glass-plate photo, Jane creates a whole new world of possibilities for them.

These colourful transformations have been a source of controversy as some viewers have felt it improper to alter images of those she doesn’t know. In response to these accusations the artist stands by her work and explains, “I wanted people to see these figures as real people, more than just an old photograph. Adding colour completely changes our perception of images.” 3

Have a look at these images and see what you think………

Artist Breathes Life Into Old Black And White Photos
Artist Jane Long has found an inspiring way of bringing old black and white photos back to life.Using her retouching skills Jane merges vintage photographs with worldly scenarios creating amazingly su...

If you would like to look at more of Jane Long’s work in other series she has created, please click here


With thanks to

  1. janelongphotography.com
  2. artloversaustralia.com
  3. mymodernmet.com