Mar 29, 2012

Around the Hat: A Photo Series

It struck me recently after seeing a series of vintage postcards and images from around Medicine Hat (my hometown) that this city in Southern Alberta has far more history than most of us give it credit for.  What's also commendable is that a lot of it is still around to explore.  Granted our history is relative to other parts of the world, but many local sites have just recently had centennial celebrations and I have to admit, it's the fact that these places are not necessarily well-known that has really hooked me.  In some ways I feel it speaks to North American history in general, especially in the west, where so much was built upon, developed, torn down, and modernized as quickly as communities could possibly grow during the 20th century.

Starting next week, and for several months to follow, I'll begin posting brand new photo sets that I've shot of some of Medicine Hat's most notable areas, buildings, and landmarks. Along with these I'll be including (when possible) some of the original photos and postcards that inspired me.  I've already begun experimenting with comparison shots, trying to match up old photos with their modern equivalents.

There are several reasons I'm really excited about this project.  It makes for great blog content for starters, but more so it's an ambitious and theme-based creative exercise that allows me to experiment and try new things with my photography - especially in how I edit my images.  Secondly, I feel like this kind of shooting hasn't really been done much around the Hat.  In searching for images online, so many pictures are nothing more than point and shoot snapshots.  Of the best images by photographers, there are mostly just one-offs with no detail shots. I want to improve on that.

My goal with this project is not to just feature locations, but to give you a sense of the atmosphere that surrounds them.  There's something cinematic about the challenge in that it becomes more about the combination of elements to create a complete photo set over just a single image. I've already completed around 8 unique photo sets so far and the pictures have surpassed my expectations. I think this is going to be a lot of fun and if you're familiar with Medicine Hat at all, I think you'll see some of the landmarks in a new light.  I hope you check back to watch the series unfold. 

The day I got the idea to do this project I started snapping instagram pics on my way home. Things kind of snowballed from there, going from iPod snapshots to calculated angles for some of the historic photo recreations.  Yeah, I'm addicted now.    

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