I've always been a fan of Paul Dorpat's "Now & Then" feature in the Seattle Times. I noticed a guy in the UK was making composited cross-time images by matching Google's Street View with vintage photos, so I made some of my own -- though I sometimes take my own "now" photos to improve alignment. It's been fun to time travel and think about people and events that happened in our region's past. All images can be clicked to see them at full size.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

An Embarrassment of Riches

My work took me to Bordeaux, France last week, so I thought I'd have a little fun remixing images from that part of the world. Making cross-time composites seems easier in a town where buildings are routinely hundreds of years old. The city is so absolutely crammed with landmarks that show up in countless paintings and photographs it's hard to choose.

It's also interesting from an urban planning standpoint: Most buildings in the heart of Bordeaux are carefully protected and preserved so very little has changed appreciably since they were first constructed. Compared to my Seattle images, where entire city blocks have been replaced multiple times during a scant 100 years, it seems like Bordeaux is preserved in amber.

The two buildings to the far right are actually in this painting by Louis Burgade from 1835. This is a view from the then-busy quay of Chartrons; one of several key piers that comprised the heart of commercial shipping to and from Bordeaux. The building where I worked for most of last week is a couple hundred yards to the right.

Bordeaux has many great avenues filled with restaurants and shops. Here we have a postcard view of the intersection of Cours Victor Hugo and Rue Sainte-Catherine from 1905 featuring a "Federal and Presidential" festival. The street hasn't changed much. Lining up buildings is incredibly easy when relatively little changes for hundreds of years.

The occupation of France was a painful chapter and Bordeaux was no exception. Here, Wehrmacht troops parade with a marching band at Place de la Comedie in 1942.

This merges a painting by Pierre Lacour and dates to the 1804-1806 timeframe. Lacour was facing in the opposite direction and slightly south of the viewpoint in the other painting.

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