Just over a hundred years ago on April 18, 1906, a savage earthquake wreaked havoc in the city of San Francisco. Around 25,000 buildings in 490 city blocks were leveled, and the city-wide fire raged on for four days and four nights. Even though photography was still a relatively new invention, photographers were present to document the devastation that struck San Francisco that morning.
Photographer Shawn Clover saw these images and was inspired to come up with a series of “past and present” photos, where he combined the photos from the past with those of modern day San Francisco. For his two collections, 1906 + 2010: The Earthquake Blend and 1906 + Today: The Earthquake Blend (Part II) , Shawn spent a lot of time and effort in order to precisely capture the photos of today from the exact locations where the photographers from the past shot their images. Every detail was thought over, from the height of the camera to the location of the sun.
Where was the exact spot the photographer stood? What was the equivalent focal length of his camera’s lens combined with the film medium? How high off the ground was the camera? Where was the sun in the sky? Everything needs to be precise when layering two photos on top of each other. My original idea was to tear away a piece of the modern photo to expose the 1906 photo, but after playing around a bit, everything seemed more interesting when the two were softly blended together.
– Shawn Clover
What Shawn came up with are mesmerizing and haunting: Ghosts from the past that haunt the modern life of today.
You can see the rest of his images on his website: