What if your favorite superheros and villains were born in the 17th century? Sacha Goldberger, a French photographer, re-appropriates these characters into strikingly realistic-looking portraits.

Goldberger had a whole crew of casting directors, costume designers, makeup and hair crew, and more to make each portrait come to life. He made a point of casting models who looked extremely similar to the actors we all know and love, and put hours into the construction of the historically-accurate costumes and makeup design. The series uses 17th-century lighting techniques to enhance the validity.

The point? Using cosplay as art – putting modern day characters into an older context to show the noble fragility that makes up a hero – or villain. There’s something odd about seeing the Joker in billowing breeches that puts things into context. The characters, after all, were always in a costume, in disguise. As they gained power and fame, so too they had to hide their true selves. In this series, you can really see the weight of the world’s responsibilities, ambitions, and sorrows on their shoulders.

Sacha Goldberger showcased the series “Super Flemish” in Paris this September. Take a look at your favorite characters below:

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