Thursday, August 17, 2017

Dear Photograph, "Batman & Bill" edition

Some years ago I discovered a site/idea that is exactly my kind of thing. It's called Dear Photograph.

The premise: you take a picture of an image from the past overlaid on the same spot in the present. Let that sink in; it's more involved than it may at first seem. It requires you to a) know exactly where a photo was taken, b) return there with a print copy of that photo, and c) line up that photo precisely with the current site so the intent is clear and the effect is seamless.

A tweeter (not affiliated with Dear Photograph, far as I can tell) did the Dear Photograph treatment with our documentary Batman & Bill. Needless to say, I loved this.

That scene was shot at San Diego Comic-Con in 2011. It's not an especially distinctive background so props to the photographer for tracking it down.

The internet has brought to light many clever photo-related projects. Two favorites:

(These days, such things make the human interest news fairly regularly. Search "recreated photo.")

Everyone from Ringo Starr (don't miss this) to Phil Collins to the Nirvana baby to Playboy has gotten into the photo booth time machine.

Other projects I like are not in and of itself about photographs but are visually driven:

The internet has also allowed the world to marvel at wild coincidences like married couples finding photographic evidence that their paths crossed years before they even met.

This has happened at least three times:

It will therefore be no surprise that I was drawn to Ransom Riggs's Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children series for the vernacular photographs. (I stayed for the fun stories.)

My next book, Fairy Spell (April 2018), is about a series of 100-year-old photographs that took on a life of their own…perhaps in more ways than one.

Though not consciously seeking out such stories, I've even written a second book about a famous photograph…to be revealed at a later date.

And while I make no claims to creating any photo as interesting as the examples above, I did spend two summers as a "professional" photographer myself.

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