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San Francisco 1906: Then and Now

San Francisco 1906: Then and Now

Then and Now photos have always been common place in cases of a natural disaster, but photographer Shawn Clover, annoyed by improperly aligned photos decided to embark on his own project. After reading Dennis Smith's 2005 book San Francisco is Burning Shawn decided to create composite images of modern day San Francisco and archival images of a destroyed city after the earthquake in 1906.

He said of his process, "Everything needs to be precise when layering two photos on top of each other. My original idea was to tear away a piece of the modern photo to expose the 1906 photo, but after playing around a bit, everything seemed more interesting when the two were softly blended together". Keeping everything from the camera's height to the suns position in the sky in mind he has done a wonderful job of blending images taken over 100 years apart together to create a beautiful composite that reminds us just how terrible that earthquake really was and what devastation remained in its wake.

Interested in seeing more images? Check out FLAVORWIRE for the full post or Shawn Clover's website HERE.












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John Godwin's picture

This is a great concept, but it's kind of poorly done in this instance, I think. 

I get that I'm asking a lot expecting them to be perfect, but most of them just look like two completely unrelated images crudely blended. I get that this was the intention, it just doesn't work for me. 

Shannon's picture

I don't think that's the case John.  If you look at some areas...they are perfectly cut out...but others, he softly blended them together.  At first, I too was kind of thrown back by this, but then I was that effect that gave authenticity to the overlap.  Without the "mess borders" you would simply assume he cut and pasted people everywhere.  With that said...I kind of like it...

John Godwin's picture

Don't get me wrong, some of them definitely work, but others not so much. 

George Socka's picture

Neat. This could be the next thing. I woudl try that for Toronto.

Angel Luis Rodriguez's picture

I think it's a great concept! I would love to see it done with New York.  It could be the 30's, 40's or even the 50's! Interesting concept, reminds me of a Scientist who said that the past and present coexist!  I guess it would look something like these photos! 

Gregory's picture

Perhaps these would be more effective if he had de-saturated the modern views or possibly colorized the vintage pics to lend a more seamless quality to the final effect, but either way it's a fantastic concept!