Photoshop may be changing the world of digital images, but few artists/photographers are doing what Eric Nagy has accomplished. Hybrid Photos, that’s what Nagy’s digital images of past and present are referred to as. He takes a photo from a time long ago and digitally incorporates it with a modern day photo he himself has taken from the exact location of the previous photographer. His images are intriguing and creative, and well, in one word, spectacular.
PH: Can you tell us a little bit about your background? Did you attend art school here in Philadelphia? Are you self taught?
EN: I was born and raised in New York City and came to Philly to attend The University of the Arts in 1991. After graduating in 1995 with a BS in Industrial Design, I had undoubtedly fallen in love with Philadelphia and had no desire to return to NY. It didn’t hurt that I met my now wife while here in college! From graduation I started working in the graphic design/print production industry and have pretty much been there since…with the exception of dabbling in a music career signed to Atlantic Records in the Philly band “Liquid Gang” for a number of years.
PH: Is there anywhere we can see your work in person?
EN: The popularity of this project has really taken me by surprise. I haven’t thought about a gallery show or some other way of showing the pieces. I have approximately 12 pieces done and 20 to 25 more to be worked on. When they’re all complete, A show of some sort seems the logical next step. Although something tells me this is the kind of thing I’ll never finish because there will always be the next photo to work on! In the meantime, I’m making available all completed pieces at http://phillyhybrid.artistwebsites.com/.
PH: Your “Hybrid Photos” of Philadelphia past and present scenes are fascinating. What inspired this project?
EN: Have you ever walked around town and seen one of those bronze boot scrapers next to old steps? Or one of those leftover marble blocks that were used to help people mount their horse? Or how about just walk down the street looking at buildings from the second floor up so you could appreciate the original architecture without seeing the first floor façade that’s been ruined by whatever store now occupies the property? Every time I walk the streets of Philadelphia I can’t help but wonder what it was like to walk these streets 100 years ago. And then to realize I’ve found the exact spot the original photographer stood in 100 years ago to take the photo I’m about to replicate…it is awesome. Merging the past with the present in photos is the closest I can get to going back in time. That and my flux capacitor is busted!
PH: Is Philly the only city you have created hybrid photos of? Any plans to visit other big cities and capture their history too?
EN: Philadelphia is the only city I’ve done these photos in. I don’t have any immediate plans to venture out but a friend recently sent me a 1906 photo of City Hall in Ocean City, NJ that was very interesting. So who knows! But for now, I have PLENTY to work with in the city of brotherly love.
PH: Do you have more iconic landmarks in the city you plan to capture, that you have not already?
EN: In Philadelphia it’s hard to get more iconic than City Hall or the Art Museum…I have both of those as subjects already. I have plans for the Franklin Institute, the Merchants Exchange, The Walnut St. Theater, a number of different street scenes and I’m very excited to get to the photos I have on the Reading Terminal & Market. If I ever run out of inspiration, all I have to do is visit the Facebook page “Old Images of Philadelphia”. The page, run by Carl Manley, is an awesome place to see amazing old photos from just about every Philadelphia neighborhood. Carl’s passion for Philly photos is a treasure to this city!
PH: Your prints would make a terrific gift this holiday season. What is the best way for readers to purchase your photos?
EN: As I finish pieces, I’m making them available for purchase ONLINE. I’m frequently putting up new pieces so I encourage people to visit regularly. The prints start at $22 and you can even order prints on wrapped canvas.
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Want to have one of these fabulous photos for your own home or office? **Enter to win** an original framed Eric Nagy Hybrid Photo of an iconic Philadelphia landmark. To enter:
1. You must LIKE the Philly Happening Facebook page, once you like our Facebook page leave a comment on this photo with a caption for Eric’s photo. The caption with the most “likes” on Monday, December 17th at 9:00 am will win.
Winners will be announced on the Philly Happening Facebook page