We all know that there are positive and negative ways to use Photoshop. And while so many celebs and brands have given a thumbs down to the program, this series of images, “Dancing with Costică,” by Australia-based photographer Jane Long reminds us that when used in the right context, image retouching can produce some pretty incredible results.

After deciding to brush up on her image retouching skills, Long discovered the Costică Acsinte Archive on Flickr, a project whose main objective is the digitization and long-term storage of the photographer’s work. She became fascinated with the subjects in these images — so much so that, rather than simply adding color to these black and white images, she decided to bring them to new life by giving each image an entirely new story.

“I will probably never know the real stories of these people but in my mind they became characters in tales of my own invention… star crossed lovers, a girl waiting for her lover to come home, boys sharing a fantasy, innocent children with a little hint of something dark,” Long stated on her Facebook page.

What resulted are images that are ambiguous, dark and breathtaking. We’re all feeling like we need to start brushing up on our retouching skills ASAP, but luckily, Long has also produced videos to walk us through her editing process.

To see more of Long’s stunning artistry, or to purchase prints from the series, visit her website or Facebook page.

How blown away are you by these images? Let us know in the comments!

(Photos via Jane Long, Costică Acsinte Archive)