Picture this: Teams of Louisvillians running around the city, smartphone in one hand and a black and white photograph in the other. They compare the photo to various downtown buildings, looking for a match, before finally snapping and uploading their own picture onto Instagram.
That’s exactly what the organizers of the Picture Louisville Vintage Photo Scavenger Hunt hope to see on August 13.
During this event, co-presented by the University of Louisville Photographic Archives and Yelp, participants will be given 10 vintage photos taken in downtown Louisville. They’ll race to find the location of each photographed image and then snap a picture of that site with the vintage photo. Finally, they’ll post a picture from each of the selected locations to Instagram — an online photo-sharing platform — with the hashtag #PicLou.
“I think the event definitely celebrates the historic fabric of the city and our architectural gems,” says Niki King, a communication and marketing specialist with the university.
King says she was inspired to organize the hunt after seeing a similar event in Atlanta advertised on social media.
“I clicked on it and read about it, and realized ‘wow! We could really replicate because we have the assets to do that here,’” King says. “The U of L Photo Archives has approximately 2 million images and manuscripts — so many of them local. You would be hard pressed to find a building in downtown Louisville that they don’t have a historic photograph of.”
At that point, she reached out to Elizabeth Reilly, the curator of the archives, and Yelp Senior Community Manager Emily Hagedorn to get the event off the ground.
Reilly says examining the archived images will be a great way for participants to learn about the city in which they live.
“Something that I think is wonderful about the scavenger hunt is that it will teach the people of Louisville to look closely at their surrounding environment,” she says. “This is an experiment of close-reading of the photographs and at the same time a close-reading of the buildings, and really connecting people to city history.”
Hagedorn agrees. She says while many people associate Yelp — a crowdsourcing application and website for reviews — with restaurant reviews, it can be used for much more, especially in this context.
“It’s a website and an app, but it is also a community of people who are really active and engaged when it comes to learning about local businesses and championing local businesses,” she says.
Hagedorn says she has reached out to other businesses surrounding the photography sites to involve them in the scavenger hunt.
“By doing this, community members and other businesses can hopefully learn a little bit more about history around them,” she says.
More information about the event can be found here.