Incredible Paintings of Vintage Photos That Are Optical Illusions

If you ask yourself why I have decided to feature some “ordinary vintage photos” on an optical illusions blog, think again. Work below is just a fraction of Spanish artist Paco Pomet’s portfolio. If you inspect the photos more closely, you’ll soon realize they’re in fact stunning oil paintings that are “just” a reproductions of vintage photographs. Not only do the works use a monochromatic palette and photo real style (which in itself I find quite impressive!) — but each of Pomet’s paintings includes something out of the ordinary that isn’t always recognizable at first glance. His illusions transform the vintage photos into something quite unexpected. What he does, he changes real people and places into surreal landscapes and portraits by tweaking tiny details that go unnoticed at first. Some end up more illusory that others, and these few I have decided to showcase. How long does it take before you discover hidden oddities? For more of Pomet’s incredibly detailed, well-rendered works, check his official homepage.

254 Replies to “Incredible Paintings of Vintage Photos That Are Optical Illusions”

    1. Agreed. Hidden pictures, or changing something into something else, is not an illusion. The logs are pencils? Not an illusion. The soldiers are wearing ladies’ shoes? Not an illusion. And I’m not even sure what has been altered in the third picture. Maybe there is an illusion in there? Is it cool that these paintings look like old photos? Yes, but not an illusion.


    3. SPOILER!!!!!!! (sort of)

      1st pic) their sitting on pencils, look at the tip

      2nd pic) the white guys are wearing women shoes

      3rd pic) not sure wat it is yet

    4. i think the illusion for the first one is the fact that the logs of wood are actually pencils. The second one is that the bottom halves of the men in picture look like the bottom half of women especially the heals and finally in the last one the men are looking at a hole in middle of a river.

    5. They first one their on pencils the second one their wearing heels and re sitting like and girls and the thrid one i don’t know xD

    6. Picture #1: Look more closely at the logs

      Picture #2: The man sitting on the ground is the only one not involved in the trick.

      Picture #3: This one I’m not so sure about. Either the wheel and its immediate area is really just a painting on a building wall, but maybe the different shading is just a different shading of no significance, or the more probable answer is a question – “Whose hand on the railing?

    7. In the 1st one, they’re perched on logs which have had their ends shaped like sharpened pencils

      In the 2nd one, the army folk all have stilleto heels on

      Not sure about the 3rd one, other than there appears to be a brick wall on the inside of the hole, suggesting they’re all above ground???

    8. I see the pencils – 1st one
      and the High heels – 2nd one
      but I don’t get the 3rd one.

    9. Lets see 1. They are sitting on pencils.
      2. The officers are wearing high heels(perhaps off to a cotillion?).
      3. At the moment I give up, it’s probably dead easy but I can’t see it for looking.

    10. In the first painting many of the logs are pencils, in the second they are wearing high heels. I don’t know what the third one is though.

    11. well in the first one, the logs of wood are actually giant pencils, and in the second one all of the guys are wearing high heels :O

    12. Dan: 1st one, they are sitting on sharpened pencils. 2nd one, they are wearing ladies’ shoes. 3rd one, I haven’t figured out yet.

  1. In the first one, the logs are pencils, in the second one, the men are wearing stilettos. I can’t see the illusion in the third one though.

  2. First one: pencils
    second one: high heels
    third one? I think a black man surrounding by white men during this time period.

  3. top pic has pencils pretending to be logs middle pic has the men wearing high heels bottom pic the beam the guy is leaning on

  4. first pic.> the wood are all pencils.

    second pic.> the guys are wearing women’s shoes.

    third pic.> ??? i think they’re standing on water.

    The first one: They seem to be sitting on pencils
    Second: Most of them are wearing high-heels,
    Third: i can’t exactly tell.

  6. Looking for anything that looks like an illusion……The women’s shoes are in pic…not illusions….the pencils were painted in and I see nothing in last pic that could be something else.

  7. Okay I think I see it.

    1st photo. The men are sitting/standing on logs which on closer inspection are pencils?

    2nd photo. The men are wearing skirts and high heels?

    3rd photo. I’m not too sure about, the floor their stanidng on looks a bit odd like running water maybe, not to sure on this one.

  8. First picture the pieces of wood are pencils.
    Second picture they’re wearing High Heels.
    And I don’t know the Third one.

  9. The first picture they’re sat and standing on large pencils.

    The second picture they’re wearing high-heels.

    The third picture I’m not so sure about, but think it’s the man with his hands on the fence, yet further along to the right that same fence is very low down, at ankle level.

  10. Wow these are great. I stared at them for ages and then bam – it hit me! awesome.

    Dan, have a really close look. The first one it’s the logs – they’re pencils! In the second all the men are wearing high heals! And then the last one it’s the floor. I’m fairly sure thats water they’re standing on!

  11. The first had pencils, the second I find quite funny, all the men are wearing stilettos, but I’m not quite sure about the third. Any help anyone?

  12. WHY does the page have to refresh???

    Here i type AGAIN!
    I was so busy looking for small details in the 1st i completely overlooked the pencils for a minute.
    the 2nd…. high heels…. too obvious…

    3rd?? still working on that 1.

  13. In the first pic, the logs they are sitting on are shaped like pencils, in the second pic, all the men are wearing high heels (though I wouldn’t call that an illusion). I’m not sure what’s wrong with the third pic, except the cart on wheels looks really out of place (and what’s with the darker background around the cart?) Very good painting though!

  14. First: The logs are pencils
    Second: The army has high heels
    Third: Not sure. Top right looks like it could be a picture since the background on the left side of the vertical log does not match the background on the right.

  15. First image: gigantic pencils…

    Second image: they are wearing high heels…

    Third image: … ??? …

  16. The illusion is that it is painted to look like a photograph. I saw pencils in the first picture, high heels in the second one, but can’t find the oddity in the third.

  17. Ok, so I see the first 2 (not really optical illusions just clever art). But the 3 third I don’t get, unless it just is the Negro has white hands???

  18. Dang! Those military people be wearing nice high heels. And tin the first photo, those pencil-log trees are pretty rare.

  19. I get the pencils/logs on the first one, the high heels instead of reg shoes on the second since they do look more like actual photos.

    However, with the third, I honestly don’t see it. It just looks like a painting to me.

    I have looked at a lot of his paintings on his website and I can see how they could be interesting, but quite a few of them just look like comic book paintings more than old fashioned pictures, like it seems they’re intended to.

  20. [img][/img]

    I will admit though, this one did have me laughing for quite a while once I looked a lot closer at it.

  21. I can see the pencils in the first and the shoes in the second, but the third is harder for me. I think that the picture is either melting or being consumed by water, but that is a guess. Perhaps I’ll come back and look at it later, just to see if I find something different.

  22. agree with Dan
    first two are most definetly not illusions
    – can’t remember the name of the style but its mockery reproduction – like LHOOQ (in french – she feels warm in the butt); mona lisa with a moustache

    can’t say for sure in the third – im looking for something stupidly obvious
    – only ‘illusion’ i see is an actual illusion, 2 couples of men seem to share arms…

    beyond that though – no offence Vudlark but the site is wayning – I wouldnt mind if it was called interesting picture of the day… but its not.

    an illusion is one representation of a one thing that can be misconstrued as a representation of another thing

    – my favorite is the find a face (in a landscape) – but any illusion is fun; its supposed to be a tiny challenge

    this is just ‘art’

  23. very nice, In the first one the middle mans leg illusion. In the second their shoes, third is difficult may be their hands and pockets

  24. in the first one they are sitting on pencils the second on is that the men are wearing woman shoes but i dont know whats the third one

  25. first picture, pencils!
    at the second picture, high heels! sir u look good
    the third picture, the perspective of the image is kinda tricky… look at the vehicle on the up right corner with people on the left of it


  26. Wow, great drawing-skills!
    Love the first one, with the wood! Second one is pretty obvious. I can’t figure out the hidden “joke” in the third one though. Anybody?

  27. the first one there are pencils, and the second one they’re wearing high heels… dunno what the last one is though..

  28. somebody help me out here … nothing in the bottom one strikes me as having anything as obviously out of place as the first two do … what am I missing?

  29. Well, I can see the pencils in the top one, the high healed shoes in the second one, but nothing really obvious in the third, unless it’s supposed to be the brick wall below ground!

  30. The first is easy and nice
    The second took me a while before i recognised the beutifull leggs! Great!
    The third I do not get.

  31. While this stuff gives people a great chance to crow that they saw the illusion and you didn’t (na na na), it’s really more of a spot the difference competition than a real optical illusion.

  32. first has pencils… second has high heal shoes.. I think the third is the guy in the middle is out of place, and the wagon in the background.. all the other guys are from a different era.

  33. What is it in the Third image? I can’t find it!!!

    The first on is the pencils looks like logs, The second is, the Men are wearing women’s heels.

  34. I can make out the first two but I’m not sure what the third one is!!!
    Pencils in the first
    the men are wearing high heels in the second one!!
    Love these!

  35. Thank you so much for introducing me to this artist. I LOVE his paintings. If anyone is aware of where to buy prints, please let me know!

  36. First one is obviously pencils.
    In the second one, all the white men are wearing highheeled shoes. The third one I can’t quite make out.
    Nicely done though. :)

  37. The first pic, the logs of lumber are actually sharpened pencils. The 2nd, the fine military officers are wearing some fine pairs of high heels. :o) as for the 3rd..I’m not sure what the odd detail is…are those bricks lining the wall within the dropped out hole?

  38. On the first one the wood trunks are actually pencils
    on the second one they wear woman shoes
    on the third one I still haven’t found it :/

  39. The first photo the men are sitting on pencils.
    The second photo the men are wearing womens high heels.
    The third photo?

  40. Ok, so i get the guys sitting on pencils and the generals with high heels… what’s with the last one? it’s gotta be pretty simple, but i just don’t see it…

    1st picture- OBVIOUS-pencils (even flat ones) and shavings, NOT OBV- the curve in the man’s leg on left of the screen, his leg curves around 3 pencils of different depths and is resting on a pencil that is behind at least 2 of them. Also his right foot is on his left leg. The guy on the right has two different sleeves. The one in the middle has his foot on top of his shoe. And his leg that is on the ground is at the same level as the first guy which is sitting with his foot on a pencil. And he has a gigantic chest. As a whole the picture turns pinkish as you scan it.
    2nd picture- OBV- shoes, NOT OBV- the sleeping face in the background. The jackets of the first and last men sitting in the chairs wrap around them and the chairs which should be impossible for the first man seeing how he is sharing a chair. Also the first guy sitting in a chair has his leg crossed to a degree of impossibility while another is sitting next to you. The man standing up is missing his left leg. The dimensions are all wrong. The guy in the middle would have to be over 8 feet tall to have his chair so far back yet have his body closest to the viewer. His arms are too short for this as well. His chair frame, what isn’t wrong with that! I don’t know if anyone else can see this but I see many faces in the trees. There is a partial of a photographed face near the top of the left hand corner. They are all surrounded by water. I’m cutting this one short on to number 3.
    3rd the boards on the ground and there relation in size and space to everything around them. The leg of the 6th guy from the left is not positioned correctly and where is his hand going? Is that a picture in the background to the right? The black guy’s hands are white. The whole structure is an illusion. The 3rd and 4th guys share an in illusion- which one has their hand on the plank of wood. Shouldn’t we see some more of guy number 2? He is the one holding onto the plank. The 1st guy’s arm would not be proportion if it belonged to him.

    1. I agree with Jeffrey. I think that you tried to explain things in the 2nd pic that were actually correct but not in your opinion (like the size of the middle guy, the missing legs etc.) and still you didn’t explain the 3rd one -.-

    2. I said the black mans hands are white. and I was trying to say that the structure is an impossible illusion.

  42. in the first one the logs are really pencils
    in thed second one the white guys are wearing high heels
    in the third one i’m not excatly sure what it is

  43. Nice. First has pencils, send has gentlemen wearing high heels. Third one I can’t tell. The hole has brick wall, but that is possible if it was make like an underground bunker. There must be something else.

  44. Look at what they are sitting on in the first and check out the “boots” in the second. Not sure about the 3rd

  45. The first painting:
    They are sitting on wooden pencils.

    The second painting:
    All the military personnel are wearing heels.

    The third painting:
    I don’t know if this is correct, but the black man in the center has hands that are of a white man.

    Am I right..?

  46. The top picture has pencils for logs… The second picture the men are all wearing (women’s)heels. I’ll let you determine the 3rd pictures hidden items :-)

  47. the top one, the logs are pencils, the middle one, they’re all wearing high heels, but I’m not altogether sure what the bottom one has that’s not “normal”

  48. These are not really illusions. First has people sitting on giant pencils. The second has men wearing women’s dress shoes. I don’t get the third.

  49. pretty cool…you have to go to the painters official website to see what the illusions are. The only one I don’t get is the third pic.

  50. Can someone tell me what is wrong with the last one? I got that the first one they’re sat on pencils, the second one they’re wearing high heels, but don’t notice anything wrong with the last one. Help!

    Much appreciated.

  51. 1) The raft is made f pencils

    2) The seated men are all wearing stilletto heels

    3) The hole in the ground is brick lined (tho’ I’m not sure if that is the point of that one.

    Loved these, mre please

  52. The first one: They are sitting on pencils.

    The Second one: They are wearing high-heels.

    I can’t find the third one.

  53. Well i dont see the one in the red picture. It took me a while to find the first one, and it was easy to find the second one.

  54. I found this fairly easily, but it seems that people are having some trouble.
    The 3rd photo has everything on top of a body of water.
    Hope this helps :)

  55. What I find odd about the third image is that the sun cuts a very sharp shadow down the hole–with the sun shining from the upper right. Additionally, certain bits of wood are casting sharp shadows from roughly the same source of light. However, none of the men cast shadows. In fact, the man to the far right appears to be illuminated from the center-left. The source photo would surely show shadows for all of the men. (And stop calling me Shirley.)

  56. I see the first 2 as others see, Last one looks to me like everyones standing on rushing water, swirling around, maybe flowing in/out of the hole.

  57. in the 3rd 1 i can see the lumber on either side of the hole form a Y.
    there is also an X on the planks lining the side of the hole/tunnel
    i also can see the figure of a man in the lower end of the post in the foreground.

    along with all the other “irregularities” that others have found, none of it makes any sense to form anything to me. Just a lot of unrelated items??

    this one is more obviously a painting than the others because of the tool strokes at the opening og the hole.

  58. i saw the first two (see every previous post for them) but i believe that in the third the illusion is that the floor is made of wood, not earth, and that they are actually standing on a giant tree trunk that has fallen over.

  59. Foe me the illusion is writing the second comment and returning a day later to find it gone. Would that be called an Optional Illusion?

  60. 1st pic also looks to me as if it’s a dog slung over first man’s shoulder.

    3rd pic looks like the ground is water.

  61. I think the ‘illusion’ in the third picture is simply that it appears to be photographs imposed on an obviously painted background.

    1. I THINK THE THIRD ONE has something to do with that down the hole it looks like it is made with bricks not earth

  62. I get the first two as does everybody else.
    The third I think I got as well.
    here is my hint to others….
    “YOY” is there a hole here?

  63. The only thing I see in the third, is the white hands on the black gun (although that could just be a shading thing, he might not even be black).
    The horizontal board behind the “black” guy is waist high on the left where the guys are resting their arms on, but to the right of him it’s being held up by a shorter poll then continues to be waist high again.
    At least that’s the best I could come up with.

  64. This might be a dumb idea, but could the third have something to do with the underground rail road? The black man is standing right in front of them but none of the men seem to be looking at him and he’s looking at the painter.

  65. In the third, I see several sharks in the mud circling the men. The hole also looks the open mouth with teeth of a large shark. Anyone else see this?

  66. 1. pencil as logs, everyone seem to agree
    2. not just high heels, but lady’s legs with high heels
    3. while everyone is looking at the hole, the black person is look at you.

  67. My third try; I hope this site doesn’t crash again while I’m writing.

    Please view the upper right-hand corner of the picture: an image of a man, his lower face obscured by a bandana, sits astride an old-fashioned tractor, or perhaps a plow or some other farm apparatus.

    He is in a plowed field, the right edge of which terminates at the picture’s edge. The left edge terminates at a vertical board. To the left of the board are the men inspecting the hole in the ground, which I believe is a distraction. They are standing on ground very different than the farmer’s plowed field.

    Plowed fields don’t end so neatly in vertical boards so, for whatever reason, the upper right corner is completely different than the rest of the picture. Do you see the differences?

  68. I think in the third its the beam where the third guy leans on, it seems straight but somehow connects with the low pole in the water.

  69. In the third, as the background liquifies, it seems as though small plants, and is that a dog paddling?, are getting sucked into the hole all the figures are wondering about…

  70. The third one is in the fence. It’s an impossible object considering the heights and placement of its posts and the way the guy to the right leans on the railing. I guess…

  71. These are great. The third one was more difficult but I believe they are standing across Niagara Falls or a similar waterfall; yet, they seem to be standing on land looking into a well.

  72. I may be wrong but in the third picture I see a giant clothes pin on the ground in between the bent over man and the last man on the right. But like I said, I’m probably wrong and the first two pictures are obvious, pencils and heels

  73. what you censor my comment because i say something negative?
    said the same thing as Astrid – just more elaborate.

    Also mentioned LHOOQ – if you enjoy these – you’d like that

    but none are illusions

  74. the first is pencils… mmmkay w/e
    the third has no illusion – except some bad perspective around the fence

    but the second
    What if these men actually were wearing high heels
    its not an illusion – just a bunch of tame cross dressers!
    actually – the black guy; the only one with legs apart is in normal shoes
    the rest are all rather ponsy… specially the first and the one standing in the back

    are we sure this isnt some social critique?
    (thats what DADAism is – mentioned in the censored post)

  75. The third picture is a dirty joke. The second has all of the men acting effeminate and wearing heels, and the first one they’re sitting on their pencils.

  76. Well, Vurdlak, you did your job!

    These pictures intrigued me so much so that I went on line and researched as much as time allowed. Found this website which is pretty good:

    The enlargement of Los Socavonistas is very interesting where the bottom edge looks folded down and next to the far left pole looks like more wood like the hole.

    Atlas was pretty intriguing.

    Don’t think Paco Pomet was into complicated, seems these are very straight forward?

  77. Another thing which doesn’t look right to me on the first picture is that the mens legs appear unnaturally long.

  78. Right OK we’ve all got the first 2 and, apart from some folk who sound like they’ve been on LSD, no one can get the third one. Its three days now. Please put us out of our agony and explain #3.

  79. I’m totally impressed by this artist. As marcy pointed out, there are so many layers of optical illusions in each picture, you can spend a long time looking at each painting.
    In the 3rd picture, the perspective of the 2 parallel pieces of wood changed as it transitioned from the foreground into the background. In the foreground, the board the guys are holding is on top of the piece of wood on the ground. As the boards extend into the background, the top board now looks like it’s further into the picture and the bottom board closer to you.

    1. Because #l and #2 have to do with pencils and shoes, I think #3 has to do with the hats.
      Too simple?

  80. 1. pencil wood.
    2. men dressed as ladies?
    3. it appears there used to be a brick house under the ground, so they dug into it and found the house.

  81. These aren’t optical illusions ,they’re just surrealism.but
    1st pic: there are a load of pencils
    2nd pic: the guys are wearing high heels
    3rd pic: it looks as if they’ve dug a hole in water

  82. if you go to the website of the artist’s works, it lists the titles of these pictures, as well as other works by him. the first pic on this page is called “The Cartoonists,” the second one is “Southerners,” and the third is “The Tunnels.” Judging from the other works of this artist on his page, the thing with the third one appears to be nothing more than the white hands on the black man. the artist appears to have a thing about changing features of subjects, such as a tree resting on a park bench, hands or legs turned into rubber-tubing or electrical wires, hands, feet, or noses larger than other features, men wearing heels (repeated more than in the pic #2 here), etc. usually these anomalies (the intro to this page does not say these are illusions, just weird anomalies) from this artist are just simply something you don’t expect. Again, judging from his other work, the hands of the black man seems to be the only strange thing about the third picture.

  83. I wonder if the extra wood etc, means something in Spanish, since that’s the language of the title. Something OY – hmm.

    1. thats funny, i did not know there was a black man in the picture. are you sure that the men on the other side of the tree, aren’t standing on water?

  84. If you click on his website mentioned in the paragraph, you’ll see that he painted the third picture with all the men having animal faces. But it’s not the same on this page.

    1. Hi J! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I kept coming back here once in a while trying to figure out #3 and when I read your post I went to the site and yes! they are animal faces on the site, but not in the photo that is on here! They look like mole faces and I think that is why they are looking down the hole as if they should go live down there! thanks again for your post![img][/img]

  85. 1st: trees are pencils, symbolizing (i think) that the loggers are re-writing the landscape.

    2nd: The posh white military dudes are wearing women’s heels, but the black slave/prisoner is barefoot, which shows society.

    3rd: The black man’s hands are white, which shows that he can do the same work as the whites, despite his ethnicity.

  86. I found the first and second one easily, but i took i while to see the third.
    In the first one the logs are pencils.
    in the second one the men sitting on the chairs have their legs crossed like women and are wearing skirts and high heels.
    In the third one the black man has white hands.

  87. easy.

    1st. pencils
    2nd. For all the people saying heels, they are also wearing dresses and holding silly hats.
    3rd. They are walking on water, and dug a hole in it.

  88. the 2nd picture depicts different human faces at the background which just look like shades but they are human faces, tree leaves depicts wolves faces

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