May 29, 2013

Around the Hat: Ghosting Images

Before my Around the Hat series was even an idea, I had seen a number of archival images blended together with modern shots of various locations from around the world. The technique is often referred to as ghosting, and it was this style that originally had me browsing archives of Medicine Hat, Alberta and the surrounding area. Undoubtedly, this influenced my local photo series when it eventually kicked off in 2012. 

Some of the most common compliments I receive about my series come from when I update archival images and show how a location has changed over the years from the same vantage point. One of my first posts like this was of an old postcard from the hill. It's something that not only appeals to locals, but it appeals to those interested in history in general. I figured it was about time I took some of those pictures I'd shot and blended them together with those archival ones for some of my first ever attempts at ghosting. I think they turned out rather well, but I'll let you be the judge.

Canadian Bank of Commerce -1915 merged with 2012

This shot was cool to merge as the lighting appeared to be the same in the archival image and the one I shot. I love the awnings on the windows and the man standing out front of the bank. I  also love the contrast between the classic, albeit modern gas lamp on the left, and the original lamp in the archival image. The presence of the Telus tower in the background only emphasizes the evolution.

St. Patrick's Church - 1940s merged with 2012

While the church itself hasn't changed much over the decades, this ghosted image shows the large trees that used to cover most of the entrance (they're gone now). I added a bit of opacity to show just what was being hidden, while still preserving the effect. Notice the two people standing out front that appear to be posing for the camera.

Hargrave Sisson Block - 1920s merged with 2012

The large old cars are pretty impressive to see parked along the curb at this historic location. With the years of paint now stripped off of the building, it's cool to get a glimpse of how the original facade really looked in this ghosted image. 

Cecil Hotel - 1965 merged with 2012

Not a whole lot has actually changed in this area, but the original Cecil neon sign on the side of the building is the standout. Also, a single power line now stands where a double posted power line platform used to be.

Alberta Foundry & Machine Co. - 1940s merged with 2012

This wartime image of the foundry looks especially cool because of the old car merged with my Jag. You can also notice how the windows are now covered, and the vintage signage seems especially fresh. 

North Railway Street - 1946 merged with 2013

WW2 soldiers are welcomed home, walking down a modern North Railway Street in this ghosted image. It's difficult to imagine seeing this many people lined along this street today, just out front of the train station.

Gaslight Plaza / Eaton's - 1970s merged with 2012

The vintage cars contrast with the modern street light and updated office windows of the Gaslight Plaza in this ghosted image. Once Eaton's department store, the area isn't usually surrounded with so many pedestrians these days.

Elizabeth Street School - 1912 merged with 2012

This image is cool because it represents a hundred year span. The workers and stacks of brick are seemingly dwarfed by the massive trees that now surround this old building. It's a fascinating way of demonstrating just how much time has passed.

Hutchinson Block - 1963 merged with 2013

This ghosted image is a bit of a reverse, as it shows the building today with the archival background instead of the other way around. Notice fairy lights hanging from across the street. Also, the small building on the right, the street light, and the parking meter - all of these things are gone. A tree now stands where the street light was, and the vacant lot next door is a small park space.

Canadian Bank of Commerce - 1910s merged with 2012

This image was cool to edit because of the buggies and pedestrians.  I used the bank as my anchor point and matched up my shot to where the old city hall was standing. To emphasize that it is no longer there I faded the edge of the picture to reveal the large pine tree that stands at the edge of the park. This one really has a ghost like feeling.

Monarch Theatre - 1948 merged with 2012

I love the starkness of this ghosted image. I kept the bikes, original signage, and the banner from 1948, but blended half of the entrance with the modern handicapped parking sign and a poster of the Hunger Games on the other side.

Five Roses Mill - 1920s merged with 2012

I really like the detail in blending these two shots. The archival image reveals the original height of the mill, however I left a bit of opacity to show the line of how tall the building is today. Also, the archival image of the mill is contrasted by the signage for the Silver Buckle bar on each side, the overpass in the background, and the min-van in the parking lot.


Stephanie Janke said...

This has to be one of my favorite local photo sets you have done Luke. My favorites have to be the merging old and new Medicine Hat landmark elements for Canadian Bank of Commerce, the Monarch,and North Railway Street. Makes me wonder how the ghosted images would look one hundred years from now?

Editing Luke said...

Thanks Steph, this was an especially fun set to put together.

phyllis eskestrand said...

Thank you for this group of photos I lived in the old building 667 2nd street in 1949, so I really love to see that one also the monarch theatre was where I spent many a Saturday afternoon, again thank you for sharing this group of pictures, it sure made my day

Joanne Hutchings said...

Very cool, Luke! It's really neat to see how Medicine Hat looked back when my father was young and growing up in The Hat with my grandparents, who are now all passed. Thank you!

Rhonda said...

Wow! These give a real perspective of what the buildings looked like. Wonderful job! I love seeing your work!