Thursday, October 1, 2009

San Jose State Normal School Tower Hall

tower hall-2Been a crazy busy September, full of wedding venue visits, busy with work, etc. Haven't been able to get out much at all. Plus my Amigo needs some work done on him before I dare take him mountain biking.

September was also the month I started my 365 photo project. I'll post an update on that after 30 full days. It has really got me reading and thinking a lot about photography.

tower hall-3A quick background about me and photography: I love photography but have never really tried it until recently. I am especially a big fan of industrial and architectural photography (still or motion) from the early days of cameras. I love watching Edison's earliest films on the streets of New York.

In Manhattan about 4 years ago I purchased the book New York Changing: Revisiting Berenice Abbott's New York. It's a stunning photography book where the author recreates the setting of the 1930s photographs almost exactly and shows them side by side. He had figured out the exact perspective, the time of day, and even used the same camera so you can focus only on what has changed.

tower hall-1While I could never do it with the same precision, recreating old photographs seems like a great way to study perception and the difference between "zooming" in using greater focal length vs actually stepping forward.

I wandered through the SJ Library's digital archive of their California Room looking for photos of San Jose and SJSU. I came across a circa 1915 photo of Tower Hall. I believe his would have been less than 10 years after it was constructed to replace the old building. Last Sunday I decided to shoot the building with every lens I had and also try to recreate the old photograph. Here are my results:


tower hall-4

Obviously I didn't get it exact. I should have stepped more to the left and angled the camera more to the right and I was around 5 minutes too late for shadows. But I think it was a decent enough first attempt and a good learning experience.

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