Welcome to John Moser's Image Workshop / Playground



I’m starting a new project, hoping to document a neighborhood in transition. The photo above, a scene photographed by many photographers over the years, is a view looking west from the western edge of the Church Hill neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia. I shot this scene today, March 17, 2014, as a late winter snowstorm swept through the city. In the foreground of the scene is the Shockoe Bottom neighborhood, and behind that, on the distant hill is downtown Richmond.

Shockoe Bottom, situated at the falls of the James River, has been a crossroads of culture, trade and a place of transition. It has been a Native American trading site, one of the largest slave markets in the United States, a manufacturing center and an alcohol theme park at various times. It may be about to change again, as developers attempt to push plans to build a ballpark, hotel and retail center in the old creek bottom. Local residents are pushing back, though, hoping to preserve and memorialize the land as an international heritage site to honor the Africans who were enslaved, imprisoned, bought and sold here from just after the first slaves arrived in Virginia, in 1619 until emancipation and the end of the United States Civil War in 1865.

I’m hoping to document and help shape the coming changes. Wish me luck. It is quite a struggle.

The image below is very special. This is a composite panorama made from original photographs taken in 1865 by Matthew Brady Studios. I made the composite from scans of negatives that Brady made in 1865 that I downloaded today from the National Archives. ( see: http://www.mdgorman.com/Photographs/church_hill_panorama.htm ) After downloading, I merged them in Photoshop and added some toning effects. This view was taken from very nearly the same spot as the photo above. Look at the changes!



8 responses

  1. This is known as the original grid for the town of Richmond that was laid in the year 1737. Here’s a early daguerreotype I found years ago of which I wish I could find bigger,probably a Pratt.

    I’ve done a pano of Brady’s before but not like this.


    March 18, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    • J Moser

      Thanks, Otway. I would be interested in knowing where you found the daguerrotype. I am on a search for high res images at the National Archives and have inquired to them. No reply yet. I may go up there soon to do a physical search of their records… did it once before. They have a lot of stuff on file that’s not on line. What I would really like to find is a picture of Shockoe Creek.

      March 18, 2014 at 6:30 pm

  2. My National Archive pano : http://otway.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/pratts-castle-panorama-richmond-1865/

    March 18, 2014 at 8:08 pm

  3. J Moser

    Excellent. Thanks for the link. I will see what i can do with that image later tonight.

    March 18, 2014 at 8:22 pm

  4. Found my Rocketts Landing pano also : http://otway.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/rocketts-landing-redux/

    March 18, 2014 at 10:35 pm

  5. p.s. I read this last summer and it is really good. I could lend it to you if interested : http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/08/books/mathew-brady-a-biography-by-robert-wilson.html?_r=0

    March 18, 2014 at 10:54 pm

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