By Jack Williams
This fascinating photography project flips the art of tourist photography on its head, using CCTV footage to capture the exact moments images were previously taken.
Focusing on the famous Abbey Road zebra crossing in London, Carlos Rene Pacheco’s “Found” series saw the photographer use social media to find images of tourists at the iconic spot, before painstakingly trawling through video footage to showcase when and how the images themselves were taken.
The side-by-side comparisons are intriguing, as the images themselves, a still moment in time, suddenly come to life.
Carlos, 30, from Tuscon, Arizona, USA, came up with the idea for this project having stumbled across the repository of publicly accessible webcams.
Having first looked at Times Square, New York, Carlos saw a number of individuals taking photographs of each other – what if, he wondered, there was a way to find all of the images these people had been taking?
With the Times Square webcams being shuffled around when he started the project, in 2013, Carlos decided to focus instead on Abbey Road, as the camera there is essentially static.
To find the images themselves, Carlos looks through the likes of image tags – for example, #abbeyroad – which can often yield thousands of results.
Another stumbling block, Carlos said, is that the social media images themselves do not have data about when the shot was taken; they only include when it was posted to the specific profile.
Therefore, Carlos’ pairing of image and footage is somewhat of a logical matching process – if an image was posted in July but everyone is weather winter clothes, for example, he knows to skip it.
Other indicators, the photograph said, can include the time of day and where shadows fall, or even bus schedules, as Carlos works with a camera that has an archived feed, so every hour in the 24-hour period, an hour is erased.
Everyone featured in the series was reached out to in order to gain their permission.
The photographer, who teaches photography in the School of Art at Minnesota State University, said he appreciates the Beatles, but is not a huge fan of their music
Carlos said: “I certainly appreciate some of their songs, but probably not as much as many of the people who make the pilgrimage to the Abbey Road crossing.
“When I first started I figured people would think the project was weird and tell me no when I told them I had found them and wanted to use their pictures.
“I make a point of asking people if I can use their photographs.
“If they say no or don’t respond I move on.
“It can be tricky when you maybe only have so many characters to explain yourself and even trickier when you have to use google translate for people who speak other languages.
“Some people respond to seeing the work in the way you’d expect. It is strange to seek out photographs of strangers on the internet.
“But, the people who are part of the project are often more than happy to let me use their photos.
“Many times they themselves share the images I’ve made with their circle of friends and it spreads even further.
“That is why the project works, I think, because we are sharing more and more with one another every day.”