Friday, November 12

Past & Present Photography

(images from Springfield Rewind)

Rephotography is a fascinating art form—it is the practice of recapturing the content of historical photographs in present day. The seemingly simple nature of the activity belies the fact that a certain bit of research and exploration is needed to recreate images of decades past.

One of the best examples I’ve found of this endeavor is Springfield Rewind, a database created by the Look Back Springfield project, which documents the history of Springfield, Illinois. The precision in which the photographs match one another is impressive, especially considering that the gap between historical photo and contemporary recreation spans, in many instances, upwards of 80 years.

However, even in examples which are only 30 years removed from one another, it is very easy to see the manner in which the environment (both physically & culturally) paradoxically changes greatly while also steadfastly remaining the same. While stone hewn buildings remain seemingly static, in contrast trees canopy once barren thoroughfares, and monolithic automobiles give way to their more agile contemporary counterparts.

From both an aesthetic and cultural standpoint, I’m always enamored by the large typographic signage of yesteryear. It often seems that large environmental—and slightly quirky—typography is missing from our contemporary landscape.

The encouraging facet of this art form is that one need only possess a camera and the will to scour their environments, so go and explore!

No comments: