Assignment 1 – How to merge

Whilst researching merging old images with the new I came across a photographer called Shawn Clover. With the advancement of technology in our digital age. He chose a clever way to tell the story of San Francisco’s Earthquake in 1906. He took his own images in the present day and merged them with early images that were taken just after the Earthquake.




In an interview he discusses how he created them in photoshop:

What was the process like to create these images?
Shawn: The basic technique is to start with the ‘before’ photo and find the approximate spot where it was taken. I then take lots of shots at slightly different spots and focal lengths while comparing on my viewfinder vs. the original. When I get back into Lightroom I can browse through all of them and better choose which photo is closest to the original. I put that one in Photoshop as a smart object and drop the original photo as another layer. Then I put the original’s opacity to about 50% so I can see my original below it and then resize/rotate/drag it to get it close to matching my photo. From there I usually need to do some vertical perspective adjustments to my photo since most photos from 1906 were properly shifted in the lens (or I use my own tilt/shift lens on site). Once I get everything lined up perfectly, I simply add a layer mask and use a soft brush with a low opacity to paint a hole through the original image to reveal elements of mine underneath. – Source –

His favourite image that he has created so far is this one:


However it has caused quite the controversy as people are extremely fond of horses, and to see them in such a horrid situation caused quite a steer of emotions from the viewers. But he say ‘it was the reality of the time’.

He produced his first set of images in 2010 in which he got an average response, however as he produced his second set of images, his stats rocketed over night and he found his images on the front page of multiple websites. This is when he decided to continue this project so that he is able to create prints and a book as this is what the people have been asking for.

I plan to use his way of merging to hopefully get the successful look that he has achieved via photoshop.


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