Imagining an Image Through the Decades

Have you ever looked at a street scene and wonder what it would have looked like in previous years? I had this feeling when I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago. I was standing at the corner of Market and Kearny and saw a vintage trolley car within a street scene that featured a mix of period-style buildings. 

The joy of Adobe Lightroom is that I can add filters to the street scene to imagine what it would have looked like throughout the decades. A review of photos from the 1960s to today provided guidance on how photos would have captured the street scene. The following are my observations: 1960s photos seemed to have cooler temperature colors and a high level of graininess. The graininess definitely ages the photo and gives it a vintage character. Photos from the 1970s appear to have a higher level of red tint and an increased brightness level. As you observe 1980s photos, they appear clearer but have a high level of contrast and a warmer color temperature. 1990s photos have an increased level of sharpness and a balance of colors. Today's photography and supporting photo editing programs can edit photos in creative ways to the photographer's choosing. 

The appearance of the photos also reflect the character of the cities during their respective decade. You can see a cycle of the city play out from its peak in the 1950s to the low point in the 1970's-80s. Investment and people started moving back into the cities beginning in the 1990s through today. San Francisco definitely matches this cycle. SF has some of the highest priced real estate in the country. Cities around the U.S. are learning from SF on how to manage growth in their cities while ensuring residents who endured the toughest times are not priced out of their neighborhoods. One of those cities is Pittsburgh (shameless plug for the 'burgh). The city embraces this cycle and lays out its priorities for the future in a video that was created to promote Pittsburgh to Amazon and any other businesses that are looking for a home (another shameless plug).

Take a look at the photos below and let me know if you like this type of blog post or if you would like to see me blog about other urban topics!