September 6, 2012 – 1906 & 2010: The [San Francisco] Earthquake Blend

I have always been fascinated by photomontage (the process and result of making a compositephotograph by cutting and joining a number of other photographs). I look at the images and wonder how the artist chooses which parts of which photographs to use to create a new work of art.

Here photographer/artist Shawn Clover has created something similar to a photomontage by blending two images rather than cutting and joining.

Here is an example from his first set of blends.

A women opens the door to her Mercedes on Sacramento
Street while horses killed by falling rubble lie in the street.


To put these photos together, I first create a catalog of historical photos that look like they have potential to be blended. Unfortunately most of these photos end up on the digital cutting room floor because there’s simply no way to get the same photo today because either a building or a tree is in the way. Once I get a good location, I get everything lined up just right. My goal is to stand in the exact spot where the original photographer stood. Doing this needs to take into account equivalent focal length, how the lens was shifted, light conditions, etc. I take plenty of shots, each nudged around a bit at each location. Just moving one foot to the left changes everything.

People stroll by the original adobe Mission Dolores which survived, while the
brick church next door was destroyed.

The second image came from the artist’s second set of work. I believe the artist is working on a third set of images as well.