Bringing the past to life
NOW AND THEN
One of the images on display as part of Now and Then, a new photography exhibit by Tae McIntosh at the Brant Museum and Archives.
Like a digital seamstress, local photographer Tae McIntosh has stitched together scenes from Brantford’s past and present in Now and Then, an arresting new photography exhibit on display at the Brant Museum and Archives.
Curator Chelsea Carss helped McIntosh select about a dozen historical photos from the museum’s collection. The photographer then took pictures of those same locations as they look today.
McIntosh fused the images using photo editing software, creating striking scenes of First World War-era soldiers preparing to board a modern Via Rail train and marching past Laurier Brantford.
In another photo, contemporary residents cross the street alongside ghostly black and white figures near the former downtown CIBC, which became the SC Johnson building.
McIntosh moved to Brantford 10 years ago from her hometown of Brooklyn, Ontario.
“It’s been a process of getting to know Brantford and making it my own home,” she said of the year-long photo effort. “Doing this project has reinforced the feel that this city is my city and this history that I’m learning is my new history.”
McIntosh hopes the photographs inspire double-takes from surprised viewers.
“If you were to turn (the blended images) entirely black and white, you might not realize there are two photos,” she said. “That’s what I was going for.”
The photographs sparked memories for longtime Brantford resident Margaret Carrow, who recognized the open air streetcar she used to take to Sunday picnics at Mohawk Park. In McIntosh’s photo, the black and white streetcar trundles past the modern library on Colborne Street, which is rendered in full colour.
“They’re great,” Carrow said of the images. “She’s done a great job of amalgamating them.”
Visitors to the museum can also see the original photos McIntosh used as source material.
The photos are nostalgic, but also instructive, Carrow said.
“I think they teach everybody what it was like years ago,” she said.
Now and Then is on until June at the Brant Museum and Archives on Charlotte Street. The photographs are available for purchase or rental by contacting Carss at 519-752-2483.
“It was interesting to see where the city has been and where it’s going,” McIntosh said.