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Crowdsourced photo project to reconstruct Melbourne

A new research project is crowdsourcing photos of Melbourne taken with a dedicated app to help construct a vision of the city's past and present appearance.

A new research project is crowdsourcing photos of Melbourne taken with a dedicated app to help construct a vision of the city's past and present appearance.

The Retake Melbourne app in action. (Screenshot by CBSi)

Rephotography is the art of retaking photos in the same location as those previously captured by a photographer in the past.

Retake Melbourne is a project that wants to reconstruct a vision of Melbourne's past and contrast it with photos of the present-day city. The images from the past come from a collection of negatives, colour transparencies and slides acquired by The State Library of Victoria. Taken by Australian photographer Mark Strizic in the 1950s, they capture a time when Melbourne's unique architecture was being slowly replaced by modernist structures.

Photographers Greg Neville and James McArdle are the duo behind the Retake Melbourne initiative. The project is seeking AU$6000 on Pozible to help fund the development of an app that will allow anyone to "retake" photos in the same locations as Strizic's shots.

"This project is about looking through the layers of time and seeing into the past, said McArdle, "enabling the gathering of images in the past with images of the present, putting them together to produce an archive that will enhance our investigations of the city."

The app will locate where each of Strizic's photos were taken and then overlay the original image to let present-day photographers accurately compose their own photo.

Neville and McArdle claim that Retake Melbourne is the first comparative photographic research project of Melbourne. Other rephotography projects across the country include Mildenhall's Canberra and Shooting Surfers Paradise by John Gollings.

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