REPHOTOGRAPHY

“Rephotography is the act of repeat photography of the same [scene], with a time lag between the two images; a “then and now” view of a particular area” (Wikipedia).

The modern photographs on this website replicate nineteenth-century artist images (sketches, drawings, watercolors, etc.) rather than historic photographs. During the era of these studies, photography was difficult to use in the field so artists were often employed to illustrate expeditionary scenes. A small gallery of rephotography image sets will be placed here eventually. These images can be viewed in many pages of the trail studies section. In the mean time, here is one example:

GREAT CANYON ON THE GILA RIVER

Great Canyon, Gila River

At left is an 1851 field sketch from the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey, probably made with the help of a camera lucida. At right is a beautiful water color by Seth Eastman based on the field sketch circa 1853. Courtesy John Carter Brown Library, Povidence, RI, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI.

 

The field sketch above left and the oil painting at above right were made in the 1850s showing what was then New Mexico Territory but would soon become southern Arizona. Although the wonderful watercolor by Seth Eastman is a well-known image, its location was unknown until fairly recently. Discovering the place required a study of the surveyor diaries and maps and then a 4 mile hike down the temporarily-dry Gila River bed. The sketch was made by the surveyors at a point where they were forced to interrupt the survey when the canyon became impassable. Finding the picture location also provided new information about the trail and campsites of the survey crew in 1851.

 

Narrowest point in the canyon of the Gila River. Needles Eye Wilderness Area, south of Globe, Arizona. Tom Jonas Photo, 2003

Narrowest point in the canyon of the Gila River. Needles Eye Wilderness Area, south of Globe, Arizona. Tom Jonas Photo, 2003

 

 

See “Bartlett” in the Trail Studies section for more information.

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