As a Chattanooga area native I have a personal appreciation of the city’s remarkable renaissance that has occurred over the past 30 years. Vivid childhood memories of flame-throwing smokestacks and pungent smells of foundries have given way to a revitalized downtown that has embraced its history.
I’ve long had an interest in history - studying family genealogy starting in my mid-20s, and was always been fascinated by historical area photos. See HallHistory.net .
My background includes a wide range of experiences including radio, advertising, marketing, and technology sales.
In the early to mid-90’s I embraced the new ‘Internet’ - registering domains for the radio stations I worked for, building their first web sites, and ensured we were the first stations in the market to stream live.
Read about a unique website I created in 2004 to address a traffic light annoyance.
This website was first launched in 2014 as 'DeepZoomChattanooga' as it focused on high resolution photos from the past. In 2019 the domain name was changed to better represent the expanding content.
Chattanooga, Tennessee is the largest mid-sized city in the United States without a local history museum.* The reasons are complicated but are not for a lack of public interest. This site is maintained to serve as a place to share unique historical photos, as well as provide resources not easily available in the research of area history.
Each image was over 80 Megapixels in size. I was amazed at the level of details of these 100+ year old photos. However, each file was so large it could cover 30 Full-HD monitors to display at 100% size. Deep Zoom provided a unique way to do this across multiple operating systems and devices.
Each image presented is first cleaned up and clarified as much as possible through work in Photoshop.
Click the red square in the 2nd image to see how small of an area would fill an HD monitor.
See the resulting deep zoom page here.
Despite all our current ways we can capture photos, negatives from over 100 years ago can contain far more resolution and detail. A negative (or positive slide) can be scanned to reveal more information than any print or postcard produced from them. Zooming into the images of the past in such detail gives one a sense of being there.
If you could go back in time with a camera and were given only a few minutes to capture some photos, you would probably want to protect and preserve those images, maintain the best quality possible and make backup copies. We are actually given this very opportunity today - everytime we take a photo. It becomes a record of the past.
Let's face it - posed people smiling for the camera, dogs, cats, and flowers will be very un interesting as time goes on.
Take a moment to photograph the larger scene of the street, an event, or anything that may seem normal in this moment in time. In only a few decades it will become more and more interesting.
I purchased my first 'real' camera while a senior in High School. One day I took it to school and took random photos of hallways, the cafeteria, cute girls, etc. My only wish is that I had done that a dozen more times as they are pure gold today.