April 5, 2019 9:54 am

Downtown Dartmouth photo project puts history in the palm of your hand


An interactive photography project is not only bringing the history of downtown Dartmouth to people on the street, but it’s putting it right in the palm of their hands as well.

The project, called “What’s In My Dartmouth,” is a new interactive website that allows users to use their smartphones to take a historical tour of the community that runs along the eastern shore of Halifax Harbour.

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Dartmouth native and photographer Manuel Moncayo-Adams has taken his passion for history and photography and combined the two in this unique history project, which uses historic images that the artist blends with present-day photos he captured of buildings and storefronts.

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His images depict the changes over time with interactive photos, which many would recognize from either the past or present time.

“Nobody wants to go and spend four hours in an archive building and look at documents with a bunch of black text. You see that and your eyes instantly glaze over,” said the 19-year-old urban planning student at Dalhousie University.

The technology immerses the user in the history, like on a virtual tour. All you have to do is a quick scan of a Quick Response Code on a poster in a participating storefront window and open the website in order to learn about the history of the particular building.

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Moncayo-Adams says it’s a different way of using your phone; Instead of using it to isolate yourself, it’s fully engaging in the public space and learning some history while you’re at it.

“A lot of people use their phones to kind of get away from people on the street. You’re on the bus and you don’t want to talk to the person next to you and you look at Twitter for 20 minutes,” said Moncayo-Adams.

“This is different. You can use your phone instead of separating yourself from the street, you can use it to integrate yourself in the environment and integrate yourself with the business and history.

“I’m tempting not to play or use our phones against us but asking ourselves to use our phones to connect rather than isolate.”

Although the project is still in its infancy, Moncayo-Adams says work will ramp up this spring and he plans to officially launch the interactive website to coincide with the Switch Open Street festival in Dartmouth on June 2.

The website will allow users to do a walking tour and interact with the project on the street in real time and essentially put and a little bit of Dartmouth history in the palm of your hand.

If you want to share some vintage photos, you can reach out to Moncayo-Adams through the website.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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