Artist Photoshops Historical Figures Back to Life
An artist has used Photoshop to bring legendary historical figures — such as William Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, Pocahontas, and Harriet Tubmman — back to life.
Graphic designer and YouTube content creator Becca Saladin Segovia used Photoshop to transform sometimes millennia-old paintings, illustrations, and statues of historical figures into realistic portraits.
Using Photoshop, Segovia has resurrected historical icons like Tutankhamun, George Washington, Joan of Arc, Harriet Tubman, and Marcus Aurelius — making images from the past more lifelike than ever before.
“I’ve always loved history so much but felt like it was really inaccessible,” Segovia, who is known as “Royalty Now” online, tells PetaPixel.
“There is a lot of really dry, uninteresting history content out there, and I felt like none of it does a really good job at capturing what these people would have looked like or felt like in real life.
“I like making them look more realistic so we can remember that history is real — it’s real events that happened to real people.”
To create her portraits, Segovia, who is based in Dallas, Texas, mainly uses Photoshop and composites multiple photos together.
She also occasionally utilizes artificially intelligent (AI) tools like Artbreeder or FaceApp but this depends on the historic figure.
Each portrait takes the artist between three to eight hours in total. However, the process can sometimes be longer depending on the costuming of the historical figure.
Segovia documents the research and creative process behind each of her Photoshopped historical figures in fascinating detail on her YouTube channel.
Segovia says that one of the biggest obstacles in terms of creating her images are the cases when there are no accurate, original portraits of a historical figure.
“The most challenging figures are those for whom we don’t have a reliable portrait to use. You’d be surprised at how many portraits you see online that weren’t even created within that person’s lifetime, or are just copies of copies,” Segovia explains.
“It’s always hard when a figure barely has anything to go on — Eleanor of Aquitaine for example has nothing but a tomb effigy from 1000 years ago. So sometimes I have to use artistic license and contemporary descriptions to bring these people to life,” she says.
“Another difficulty is when you can tell that portraits of the person have been highly stylized. For example, Marie Antoinette has many portraits created during her lifetime, but you can tell the proportions have been altered to fit into French beauty standards of the 18th century,” Segovia continues.
“Then, when you look at her death mask, it looks quite different. So for her, I kind of created a composite image using influence from both.”
More of Segovia work can be seen on YouTube, Instagram, and her website.
Image credits: All photos by Becca Saladin Segovia / Royalty Now Studios.