Merging Time, an exhibit created by the students of Langara College’s Professional Photography program, has returned to the Archives gallery space. It is an exhibit that merges a photograph from the Archives holdings with a newly-shot image of the same scene. This year, there are nineteen of these past-and-present combined images adorning the gallery walls.
The creation of the merged images may look effortless and seamless, but don’t be fooled. The first challenge for these students is finding the locations from which the original photographs were shot. Getting a new shot with their dSLR cameras from the same perspective can be tricky, as buildings, construction, or other barriers that didn’t exist in the past may block or obscure today’s views of the original scenes. Even the height of the original photographer can make getting a similar shot a challenge.
Once suitable present-day shots have been taken, they are manipulated to match the focal length and angle of the original photographs. Through this editing process, the students choose what parts of the two images to blend and merge. The results are an insightful and fascinating look into how Vancouver’s landscape has shifted, or stayed the same over time.
This year’s selection of original photographs date from 1900 to 1948, and include downtown buildings and streets, churches, English Bay, and the Lions Gate Bridge.
The Archives Gallery is open to the public 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. Merging Time will be showcased until the end of February. The images are also available on Flickr.