Vintage Photography Given a Colourful Facelift
Mana Urakami, better known by her enigmatic Instagram handle as maskof.j. weaves intricate details into vintage photographs that she collects in the flea markets scattered throughout Berlin. The colourful additions work to add a deeper meaner, personalizing the unfamiliar faces and transforming the images.
Mana really likes to see old photography as there are details from the past to be discovered in them. Visiting the flea markets in Germany she noticed many people selling vintage photographs. In Japan she mentions they are interested in history and the past, but people would never think to buy photographs of strangers. Here, people seemed to collect vintage photography, and she wondered why.
She was drawn to these portrait photography, but as they were, it was a little bit too naked. As she felt an intruder into their lives, she wanted to add her personal take on the foreign images. By covering them, adding to them, she gives some privacy back to the owners. When adding colour using thread, it creates something special for her. Just as paint it enables her to depict the story being told. The eyes she finds powerful and that’s why she sometimes prefers to hide them.
As an example the photograph of the soldier also came with a love letter, written to someone far away. Mana: ''I feel this distance—from his girlfriend or loved one —in the photo. He looks happy but his mind is busy. That’s why I added the tears. But I also think he is proud of his life. It is not just about the kanashima (sorrow, grief)''.