Let the images speak: historic re-photography in Canada’s mountain west

Mary Sanseverino | Wednesday, April 18, 2017

7 p.m. in UVic's Human and Social Development Building, room A240

Hike Canada's ranges to see how scientists with cameras are revealing climate change.

Mary Sanseverino

For 20 years, the Mountain Legacy Project (MLP) has been using repeat photography to examine landscape change in the Canadian mountain west. Using historical images with amazing fidelity, MLP teams determine the location from which photos were taken, hike to the same locations, and rephotograph them as accurately as possible. The historic and modern images are then aligned, analyzed and made available for use by scholars, students, government agencies and the public at large—anyone interested in exploring Canada’s mountains.

This research provides deep interdisciplinary research potential—environmental science, archival research, history, computer science, statistics—and that’s just some of the “academic” side of the house. Add on mountaineering, photography, wilderness travel, and helicopter training and the intricacies underlying the project become apparent.

Over the years MLP researchers have developed and improved techniques for shooting the modern retakes, curating and analyzing the image pairs, and publishing the results. MLP image pairs continue to be used by those who wish to understand past landscape patterns, examine ecological and human legacies, look for evidence of climate change in mountain landscapes, and explore cultural processes over time.

Join MLP researcher Mary Sanseverino for an image-rich evening of mountain landscape discovery as she unpacks the interdisciplinary practices that let the images of the Mountain Legacy Project speak.

About Mary Sanseverino

Mary Sanseverino is a teaching professor emerita in the Department of Computer Science at UVic. In 2010 she was honoured with the UVic’s Harry Hickman Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching and Educational Leadership. In 2003 she received the Faculty of Engineering’s award for teaching excellence.

A long-time mountaineer and photographer, Mary’s other research interests have involved work with computational photography, making her a good fit with the Mountain Legacy Project. She has been associated with the project since 2010.