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Thread: time travel

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    time travel

    The recent post about the current re photographic project was interesting. The Klett led project of years ago showed that the land remains largely the same when man does not intervene. I took a LF class to Big Bend National park in Texas and we found a landscape that was harsh and beautiful. It is not uncommon for the temp to hit 120 five months of the year. We photographed a great deal across the Rio Grande in Boquillas Mexico. A wonderful discovery later on was that AA had made the same photographs in 1942. The cliffs and rocks, of course had not changed but ,surprisingly, the trees and cactus were also virtually the same.

    I've long been tempted by the idea of searching out the structures that are in some of the most well known photographs. Are they still there? How has the land/cityscape changed around these areas? What does Hernandez look like today? Somebody should be able to post a contemporary photo. Can one still find the building in Strand's Wall Street? How about the vista seen by Stieglitz and others when photographing from rooftops. I recently found( I think) Max Yavnos fire escape Steps off Canal Street. I wasn't looking for it, it just appeared. Could we still see the street where Orkin photographed Youn g American Student? I bet we could even go back and find some of the structures photographed by Fenton 160 years ago. Then there is Atget I would be the first to sign on to a tour that travelled around Paris and Versailles and see the places that he photographed. Has anyone seen these places and structures? On my last trip to Paris I was too distracted by the sights and sounds and bakeries( it seems like every block has at least two) to think about Atget. Where would you go to see if the scene and structures are the same as when photographed years and decades ago?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Westport Island, Maine

    time travel

    Hernandez is surrounded by mobile homes. I was there last summer with the family, and we went to Mesa Verde from Santa Fe, which takes you through Hernandez.

    Steve Simmons told me we'd never find where Ansel made the picture. I took that as a challenge. I told my 13-year-old son we were going past the place, and he said, "Are we looking for the graveyard?" He probably hadn't seen the picture in 4 years, and still remembered. Incredible.

    Well, we found the graveyard, surrounded by mobile homes. It ain't like it used to be, but we were proud to have found it and happy to have seen it, no matter the condition.

    I want to follow a US Highway (not an interstate, but one of the old roads) like US 20 or US 4 across country and photograph along the way. I think that would be a worthy project. I know folks have done books about US 1 in the east, and I have a book with wonderful photographs made along Route 66. Nevertheless, I think there's room for more. I may be about $2 a gallon too late, though. We'll see.
    Bruce Barlow
    author of "Finely Focused" and "Exercises in Photographic Composition"

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Baraboo, Wisconsin

    time travel

    I went to Hernandez on a workshop with Steve Simmons. When he says you won't find where Ansel made the picture I believe he means that the road from which Ansel Adams made the photograph isn't the road that's being used today. The remnants of the old road are nearby IIRC and aren't difficult to find (or weren't ten years ago) but most people don't realize they need to find the old road if they want to get to the spot from where Adams made the photograph.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    time travel

    Nice thread, Jack.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 1998

    time travel

    Yes, Jack, it is an interesting subject. But, you left out one thing.

    For the more recent photographers [my interest is W. Evans], you may even run into people who were THERE when the original photograph was made. I've found folks at 2 sites who remembered Walker being there taking his photographs. Now THAT is really exciting.

    Keeping in mind the passage of time, I don't expect to find many more, but it adds another aspect to the search. You'd be amazed at how many of the sites are there, but what changes have occurred. I can spend hours comparing the old and new photographs to see what has happened. It's often hard to believe it is the same place, but a prominent fixture at the spot confirms the location.

    Brian is right - the "tripod holes" may not be there because of subsequent construction, etc. It can be a challenge.

  6. #6
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    brooklyn, nyc

    time travel

    The building in Strand's Wall Street is the JP Morgan Bank, and it's still there, looking just the same. I stumbled onto it my first year in New York and a had real creepy sense of deja vu. The main difference is that the bankers travelling in herds in front of it aren't wearing hats anymore.

    Almost any city vista by Stieglitz is going to be radically different. So many buildings come down as new ones go up in the city. This was one of the central ideas in Dorothea Lang's multi-year portrait of new york ... the perpetuity of change. 293 5th Avenue, the home of Stieglitz's "little gallery," is sadly long gone.

    But I have a friend (a photographer) who lives in Lake George New York, who says the Stieglitz house is still there. Probably the summer house of some annoying NYC broker.

  7. #7
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Stuck inside of Tucson with the Eastern Seaboard Blues again...

    time travel

    For that matter, I wonder whether the Westons still grow green peppers in the garden where Edward grew his. Talk about an heirloom crop...
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    time travel

    I'd like to photograph the stairs used in a Three Stooges short, when they were the ice men.

  9. #9

    time travel

    A few years ago the local historical society held a photo contest that was loads of fun. They gave each entrant an old postcard or photograph from the local area. The assignment was to locate the scene and duplicate the photo to the best of ones abilities. I ended up on the roof of a supermarket, taking a shot down main street, since the original photo was taken from the second story of a house no longer in existence. I remember searching out a few features that were still around- chimneys, building edges, and the landscape in the background, so I could align my position as best possible. At the end they had a big get-together where all the originals were displayed next to the modern images. Interesting, educational, and, as I said, loads of fun!

  10. #10

    time travel

    I recall a college professor of mine showed a series of images where a photographer had done the very same thing with a wide assortment of images. The one that still sticks in my memory was of a home beside the ruts of wagon wheels. The current interstate highway was in the same position of the wagon wheel tracks. I seem to recall the house had been removed but other landmarks were still there. It was kind of spooky to see.


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