Thursday, January 15, 2009

Your Brisbane: Past & Present

Thanks to images sourced from the archives of the Queensland State Library and the John Oxley library, I have begun a photographic project that compares old photographs of Brisbane with current photographs taken at the same location.

Where possible, I am replicating the viewpoint of the original image, although sometimes this is impossible. Over time things tend to change, and buildings and trees mushroom where none stood before, or once quiet roads are now too busy with traffic.

As a preview, I can show you what I mean. Below is a photograph printed in the Brisbane's daily newspaper, The Courier-Mail, in 1913. It shows the Winchcombe Carson wool store that was completed in 1911, and gives an idea of the size of the building, which takes up a whole block. It was used, of course, to store bales of wool prior to them being loaded onto ships at the nearby Teneriffe Wharves.
(Photo: courtesy State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library)

The building still stands; now converted to much sought after (and expensive!) New York-style apartments.

(Photo: the foto fanatic)

It was not possible to provide exactly the same perspective. This photo had to be taken from the middle of a busy road using a wide angle lens. I suspect that the original was taken from a higher position, and probably using what we now call a view camera, where the lens can be moved independently of the camera body. This prevents the distortion that arises from having to angle the camera upwards to capture the entire building. My image has been adjusted in Photoshop to reduce this distortion as much as possible. If this isn't done, the buiding looks like it is falling over backwards.

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