Retro: the past in our present

Today we are surrounded by an upsurge in retro culture, is it because we are secretly tired of modern life and everything it entails; fast paced technology driven lifestyles, austerity, looking towards an uncertain future in front of us? Or are we merely drawing comfort from our nostalgic past? What ever the reason is, retro culture is a major part of our modern lives, from vintage fairs to the retro style packaging being used on some of our favourite products in the supermarkets, the fact is the past is making money in the present.

Retro - the Latin prefix meaning backwards, or in times past

Looking at photographs from the past, especially the 1950's, 60's and 70's they all have a distinctive look of their own. Looking through magazines and viewing other types of visual advertising we see retro style images which draw inspiration from photographs of the past. In this post we will show you how we can take a contemporary photograph and enhance it with a retro feel.

Original image

As you can see this is a contemporary head shot. Our idea here is to transform this image to reflect an image from the late 1950's / early 1960's just like the ones you would see in a fashion magazine of the day. What are the objectives?

  • Transform the hair into a more structured vintage inspired hairstyle (by the early 1960's hairspray was the best selling beauty product and it was used extensibility).
  • Tidy up the eyebrows, and smooth out the skin slightly.
  • Finally, adjust the colour levels in the image so it appears as if it had been photographed in the past.

What do you think?

Enhanced image

With all the objectives we set ourselves being satisfied, we now have a completed project. We hope you agree that this represents a photograph from the past, but still holds on to some elements of the present. Sometimes the most successful editing of a photograph in the retro style is when it is influenced by the past instead of directly duplicating it. Now you can compare each image with the comparison below:

Comparison of both images

With this project we not only have demonstrated that we can alter the physical look of a photograph, we can also make it a symbol for our own nostalgic past.

If you have any photographs you would like treated in the same way a those above, please email us with your image to or visit With this service starting from as little as £15 please contact us for a free no obligation quote.

Thanks for reading!

ReClick Photo.