Some people dream of hanging out with Hollywood actors from the past. Others wish they could have spent time with famous painters who are now long gone. But for one artist, those dreams aren't as far-fetched as they sound.
Celine Liu, a visual artist based in Beijing, China, has been working on a photo-editing series since 2002. Titled "I'm Everywhere," Liu uses photo-editing tools to insert herself into photos of legendary people, including actors, influential activists, and painters.
We recently got in touch with Liu to learn more about her ongoing series. See the realistic photos from her project below.
One example shows Liu at the 1955 Academy Awards with Grace Kelly. The two appear to be laughing and enjoying the ceremony after Kelly accepted her best actress award.
"I think people who show up on the screen are glorious," Liu said. "So this series was created to fulfill my childhood wish, which was to become an icon by standing with the stars."
Liu placed herself into this 1952 photo of the star sorting through her fan mail.
If you didn't know it was edited, one might believe that Liu was actually sitting next to Albert Einstein along the beach in 1939 when the original photo was taken.
Originally taken in 1965 during the Selma to Montgomery March, this famous photo depicts Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott.
Liu edited herself into the back of the image, appearing to march behind the famous activists.
In 1946, photographer Nickolas Muray captured an image of artist Frida Kahlo smoking on a balcony in New York City.
More than seven decades later, Liu recreated the image by placing herself alongside Kahlo.
For each photo, the artist alters her wardrobe almost completely to match the time period and style.
For example, Liu wore a loose, printed dress to match Kahlo in her first image. But for her second photo with the painter, Liu chose to wear a floral jacket and an updo hair style.
This picture makes it look as though Liu was working alongside the famous artist.
Regardless of how famous a person may be, Liu also makes sure that she's familiar with them herself, and that she has some personal connection to their work.
Many of the photos used in Liu's series are iconic images, but she occasionally prefers to use lesser-known photographs of her subjects.
While she could have used any portrait of Simone de Beauvoir for her photo series, Liu ended up choosing two photos that show the writer more candidly.
But rather than using a popular image, the artist decided to place herself into a rare photo of the actor.
"My dad often imitated [Chaplin] and made me laugh when I was a little girl," Liu said. "So [Chaplin and I] built up a real emotional connection."
As a result, Liu decided to edit herself into a photo of the actor getting ready backstage, and aimed to make it appear as though the two "were familiar and had a strong bond."
Liu uses photo-editing tools to create her series, but she feels that there's ultimately a much deeper meaning behind her work.
"This work is more like performance art, or an experimental game," she said.
Also from Business Insider South Africa: