By Megan Garber (Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She was formerly an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab, where she wrote about innovations in the media.)
In a word: creepy. In another word: beautiful.
What would a Van Gogh painting look like as a life-like image? What would Van Gogh himself look like — not as a series of impressionistic swirls, but as a common photograph? Lithuanian architect and photographer Tadao Cern wanted to find out — so he digitally recreated one of the artist’s most iconic self-portraits as a modern portrait. The result is haunting:
Compare that to the artist’s actual self-portrait:
So, basically: The architect took one of the most rare things in the world — a Van Gogh painting — and converted it into one of the most banal: a selfie. But in the process, using contemporary tools, Cern also created a new form of art, one that takes the work of human hands and transforms it into something that could exist only in the digital realm. Here is — generally — how he did it: