Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Twist on Washington, DC 'Then & Now' Photographs

When my co-author T. Luke Young and I decided to research, write and photograph a "Then and Now" type book for Washington, DC that was published in 2002, we wanted to take the typical format of matching old photographs with new a bit further.  We decided to recreate vintage scenes with people to a newly created photograph arranged with similar individuals but reflecting their modern clothes, etc.  I'll post a few of my favorites on this bog in the coming weeks.  The book is still available HERE with a little more info.

One of our more challenging vintage images was a picture I found in an old scrapbook I had purchased from eBay that documented a local family and their friends, the Buzan's that came to DC for a visit.  Here they are at the Lincoln Memorial in 1955: Mrs. Viola Buzan, Mrs. Hazel Buzan Comstock, and John Buzan.  How were we going to find anyone wearing a hat nowadays, and all be related?  Amazingly, it took just a few minutes once we approached the Memorial one spring day in 2002.

Summer 1955 with the Buzan Family at Lincoln Memorial.  Copyright PKW
 With the vintage photograph in hand, we were thrilled to see a Mennonite family heading up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, complete with white caps.  They were perfect, but were there enough family members?  We approached slowly, asking one of the ladies if she was game to pose for a picture to be published in a future book.  She said yes!  And, their son and his wife were along to be used as the extra individuals we needed.  

We soon had volunteers holding up the photograph and directing the tourists to pose just like the vintage picture: we attracted quite a crowd, in fact, with everyone having fun at helping us accomplish our goal.  Pictured below in 2002 recreating the original 1955 shot are Catherine Kramer, Martha Kramer, Dan Kramer and Stephanie Kramer as the girl in the background.  Mission accomplished, and the Kramers had their fifteen minutes of fame (and a free book for their efforts).

Summer 2002 with the Kramer Family from DE.  Copyright TLY.

1955 Photograph and text Copyright Paul K. Williams.   2002 Photograph Copyright T. Luke Young.        

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