When Captain Tom Moore, aged 99, walked 100 laps of his garden back in April, raising nearly 30 million pounds for the NHS, the world’s heart was captured. He became an instant internet darling, and the subject of many tributes – even hitting the number 1 spot with Michael Ball for the single ‘Never Walk Alone’. One image which kept appearing online, was a merged photo, of Captain Tom completing his 100th lap, and a historic photo of soldiers marching. This image captured people’s hearts around the world, and it also captured the attention of Darren Archibald in Mount Gambier, setting him on a journey that has set a new passion in motion.
Darren works in a bank by day, and is a hobby photographer after hours, and has spent the last ten years or so snapping things of interest to him, including motorsports.
When Darren saw the photo merge with Captain Tom, and with extra time on his hands during SA’s lockdown period, the Mount Gambier resident decided to do something similar to honour the cancelled ANZAC Day march this year.
While he couldn’t find any suitable photos to use, Darren got creative, instead taking advantage of empty streets, and closed pubs, to start shooting old buildings around the South East.
Finding old photos from the area in the State Library of South Australia collections, Darren then went searching for the buildings, and exact locations and angles to capture the modern day version of the shot, then merging the two together.
While he occasionally found himself shooting old, but similar buildings, locals quickly helped put him on the right track, and now his lock down hobby has become a full blown passion, as Darren and his wife travel around SA to new towns and locations to find places to photograph.
In fact, Darren’s father Ian has even gotten on board with the project in Moonta, snapping pictures from the Copper Triangle to add to the collection.
Darren says that while he always liked old buildings, his interest in them has now grown, as he discovers their hidden histories, and modifications and changes over the years.
Editing the pictures can take anywhere from 5 minutes to half and hour or so, with around 20 photos being taken of each location to ensure as exact a match as possible.
Since Darren began merging images, their popularity has taken off, with fans requesting specific buildings to be done, and businesses and towns requesting images to be printed off to be framed.
With the most recent photos taken in the Adelaide Hills including Gumeracha and Lobethal, there’s more moments in time coming our way, with the ultimate destination being the Victorian gold mining towns. But while restrictions remain in place between SA and Victoria, Darren says he will continue exploring his home state, and bringing more amazing captures our way.