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The Creative Spark: Brian Kaufman, Visual Journalist
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Shooting a Then and Now


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The Creative Spark: Brian Kaufman, Visual Journalist

with Brian Kaufman

Video: Shooting a Then and Now

So, this is a photo from a collection of photographs from the Rose and Robert Skillman Branch of the Detroit Public Library. automotive history collection, and these were all the Packard plant. This was a 1926 photo and I believe it was shot in this building, we're in building 92. I could be wrong but these round colors right here and the hexagonal shape of the concrete at the top makes me think that it was in here, because I don't know any other buildings that has these types of construction figures. So, I think that this is in here.

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The Creative Spark: Brian Kaufman, Visual Journalist
48m 21s Appropriate for all Jul 19, 2013

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Like the automotive industry, newspapers are struggling to stay healthy and relevant in a world of rapid technological advances. Part of newspapers' success will be determined by storytellers like Brian Kaufman, a visual journalist for the Detroit Free Press. When Brian first moved to Detroit, Michigan, he visited the abandoned Packard Plant, a 40-acre complex once considered the epitome of innovation in the automotive world, but since come to represent Detroit's long fall from grace. The plant has slowly been gutted and collapsed into ruin, but to Brian, it represents a chance to re-engage the community in Detroit's rich history and create riveting visual content for the newspaper's website.

Follow along as Brian explains his process for creating long-form video features and how he uses the iPhone to capture and instantly publish breaking news in the field. We also take a look at his Then and Now comparison series, where he maps old images of the Packard Plant over new ones, which the newspaper then turns into interactive experiences for its web audience.

Subjects:
Photography Documentaries Creative Spark
Author:
Brian Kaufman

Shooting a Then and Now

So, this is a photo from a collection of photographs from the Rose and Robert Skillman Branch of the Detroit Public Library. automotive history collection, and these were all the Packard plant. This was a 1926 photo and I believe it was shot in this building, we're in building 92. I could be wrong but these round colors right here and the hexagonal shape of the concrete at the top makes me think that it was in here, because I don't know any other buildings that has these types of construction figures. So, I think that this is in here.

Now, I just gotta try and find out where it was shot, and then replicate it. The only thing that's throwing me off about this is that I'm looking at the columns on the right here, where there would've been windows, where they meet the roof. And I'm not seeing the slanted concrete structure at the top. So, I'm not sure what that means. It also looks like these pillars might have been a little closer to the window than this photo makes it seem, but that could just be perspective.

So let's walk up one floor and we'll see if we can find where this was. Now the second part of this process is once you're getting close to where you think it was, what lens do you use? This was shot in 1926. And so, I'm not sure what camera it was even on and much less, what lens was used. And so, I'm imagining back in that time period they had fixed lenses most likely so I'm going to shoot at 20, 24 and 35. And we'll do three variations of that.

I'm sure it's not a 50 millimeter lens it's a little too wide. Let's start at 20. Once we take all these variations of this scene, we'll go back into the office. We'll put them into Photoshop and we'll see which variation most closely resembles the photo.

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