We love it when students use our collections creatively. In Winter term Julia Bradshaw, Assistant Professor in the Art Department asked Ruth Vondracek to conduct a class for Art 399: Concepts In Digital Imaging. The students learned how to use the SCARC finding aids and had fun picking out photos at the same time. As one student said, “… it was very intriguing to see all of the old photographs and to learn what is offered through the archives.”
The student’s assignment was to find an archival photograph of a Corvallis location in the SCARC collections, re-photograph the same location and blend the old and the new. We think you will agree that the results draw the past evocatively into the present.
Watch for our exhibit of the student’s photographs to be held in the Valley Library later in Spring term.
My primary interests lay in nature. I originally searched through the Digital Archive online for pictures of the Willamette River and found one from Mary’s River that was of good quality. I am not sure of the exact date of the original photograph or of the original spot. I did though have a faint idea of where the original image was taken because of the location of Mary’s Peak in the background. I ended up taking over a hundred photographs of the area; I then made a collage in order to create an image similar in style to the original large format image.
I chose a photo from 1970 looking along 3rd Avenue in Corvallis. The photograph was actually mislabeled as “Looking north on 4th Ave”, but through talking to a classmate and going to the site of the photo, I determined that it was actually 3rd avenue. I decided to use the image because I thought that it was interesting that the Safeway has not changed locations since 1970. I am also interested in street scenes and so the photograph spoke to me. The fact that I had to figure out where it was taken, and the history behind it, was also pretty neat.
My photo project was about the comparison of 1980s and modern Women’s Basketball. I chose this theme because I wanted to try something different from landscape or building, which were the themes for everyone else.
I chose an image from the first Oregon State graduation held in Gill Coliseum because I wanted to create an eerie and ghostly image of the past. As the student population ever increases at Oregon State, the venues of graduation have also changed. Before having graduation in Gill, it was held in the pool area of Langton. Now, the student population is so large that the only area to house thousands and thousands of graduates is the Reser football stadium.
I chose to make a photomontage of the original “Campus Store” combined with the present day location on Monroe St. I find it interesting how the space has changed into the “University Center” of today, which houses Dutch Bros. Coffee and office spaces above. I also cropped out most of the vintage photo’s surrounding environment, which shows how the town has developed immensely since then. . I thought it was clever to have a couple people bicycling; I is almost as if they are biking into the world of when the Campus Store existed in this location. There is certainly a nostalgic feeling in the Campus Store photo. We can see how the area has changed, but also see from where the University has come. It was fun to see this come to life!
I chose this picture because of the subject matter, Fairbanks Hall, and the interesting elements in the image, created by the walkway and the trees along the left side. I’m not sure when it was taken, but I think sometime around the thirties based off other images I saw that looked to be taken at the same time and the look of the outfits of the people in the photograph. Looking through all these pictures showed me how much campus has changed.
The photo I picked was of Weatherford Hall from 1941. I have always heard stories about the building, since most of my family has attended Oregon State. I knew that it used to be the ROTC building, but didn’t know much else about it. I thought that it was so interesting that the building itself looks exactly the same, but the inside and the surrounding areas have changed so much. I wanted to show that the building used to be just in the middle of an open field and how now it is surrounded by buildings. I did this by making a panoramic photo and layering in the old photo.
I chose to photograph the McAlexander Fieldhouse because I am an Army ROTC cadet and the building is a big part of my life here at OSU. I absolutely loved looking through the boxes of the old photographs of the building and found that it was originally an Armory. My project represents a balance between the past and the present and how both are necessary pieces of the whole. In Army ROTC, history is an important part of our learning in developing leadership so it was really fun to be able to blend history into the present with this building since it such a big part of my life right now.
I ended up choosing a photo of the Benton County Courthouse. I chose this photo because that building has always interested to me due to its old architecture. When composing my piece it was interesting to see the lack of changes to the building. Besides some slight changes, the building has remained the same. In contrast to the courthouse, the outer environment has changed drastically with new additions of paved roads and power lines.
The four photographs I chose were of places on campus. The first one is of Azalea House, then “Lover’s Lane”, then Campus Way and the last photo was of Fairbanks Hall. I picked these four because when they are put together, they show the route I take every day to school. They mean something to me and were fairly easy to locate in the Archives.
I chose this image for my project because it depicted Benton Hall. I spend a lot of my time in Benton and I know it is one of the oldest buildings on campus. Though the building has changed little (on the outside) everything around it has been greatly altered by time. The view from which the original photo is taken is now almost completely obscured by trees. It was cool to compare the original image with the image I ended up taking from the same spot side by side.
I chose to use this photo of E.E. Wilson because it seemed to capture the essence of Oregon State through both the architecture and the human activity. Before this assignment, I had no idea that Benton Hall had been a part of Oregon State’s history for so long. I felt compelled to use it in my work. Another reason why this photo grabbed my attention was because of the man on the bicycle. Riding a bike on and through campus is a mode of transportation which students and faculty alike use on a daily basis today and I was surprised to see that it was just as important in the early 1900’s. When originally making the decision about the image, I was drawn to the postcards; I loved the nostalgic qualities and tactility. I paired the photo with the old postcard format. I then meshed an original photo I took with the older one and created a postcard which could possibly be sent out through the university for some occasion.
I choose the courthouse because it’s a magnificent building and I walk by it every time I am downtown. I think it an important landmark in Corvallis. Also, I think it’s pretty tight to see how things have changed over time.
For my project I used the photos of the Lady in the Fountain, and it was great to learn about some of the history of OSU. It was heartbreaking to hear that the fountain was repeatedly vandalized and eventually destroyed only about 20 years after being at OSU, but it was reassuring to see that there were students who cared and guarded the statue. It’s great that you have these photos that show a part of the history of OSU that is no longer here. Seeing this statue almost a century after it was destroyed is amazing, and I’m glad that I got to see and learn about it.