140 Years of Change: The George Bradford Brainerd Project

George Bradford Brainerd (1845-1887) was an innovator in early photography, and his contributions have been mostly forgotten. This project serves as a dedication to Mr. Brainerd and his many accomplishments.

After stumbling upon several of Brainerd's photos while exploring the Brooklyn Collection inside the Brooklyn Public Library, I became very interested when I read that his photos date back around 140 years. Search engines provided little in the way of information about his photography. So I devised a plan to spread the word about his life in a way that people in the present day would find... "cool".

Mouse over or tap the image to go 140 years into the past. Tap outside the image if it won't go back and forth. This photo shows the area just west of the intersection at Fulton Street and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn.

I decided to shoot photos in the same locations from which Brainerd captured his photographs in the 19th century, and create a way that allows people to compare 140 years of change. This includes a page with all of the image comparisons. I also edited a short video trailer with music provided by Adi Goldstein so that people have a link to share with friends and family over email, social media and text messages. I also typed up a page with 15 facts about his life.

As I move away from New York in one week, this is my way of giving back to the city that has given so much to me. I worked for two amazing companies and met the love of my life during my four years and three months in the city.

The experience of creating this project included researching, shooting, reshooting, writing and editing. In doing all of this, I have seen that modern technology is helping in the effort to make available to the entire world historical documents and images. The Brooklyn Museum's online availability of George Brainerd's images and Julie C. Moffat's thesis made this project possible. And this is just one example of finding someone of historical importance that almost slipped through the cracks. I can't help but wonder who the world will discover next. Who else is out there, waiting to receive his or her rightful place in the annals of history?

If you would like to inquire about ordering a print from this collection, please contact me on this page: http://www.jordanliles.com/contact.