‘Ghost Pictures’ bring old Bridgwater back to life

Bridgwater docks 'then and now' by Jim Goddard.
Bridgwater docks ‘then and now’ by Jim Goddard.

Bridgwater people are fascinated by old pictures of their town. The shape of the streets and the lay of the land has hardly changed in generations and it’s easy to imagine the sailing ships in the river harboured along West Quay, the pavements thronged with shoppers visiting the ample supply of local shops and even the lines of traffic queuing through the gridlocked streets before we’d, er, sorted all that sort of thing out. Now Bridgwater artist Jim Goddard has brought it all back to life with a series of skillful  ‘then and now’ images blending the old and new, creating ghostlike visions taking the viewer back in time by matching recent photographs with the same street scenes from days gone by

Jim Goddard has lived in Bridgwater for the past 7 years and photographs landscapes,portraits and animals. He also does astro and macro photography and turns some of his photographs into artwork either in the computer or with good old fashioned pen,paint and paper. Jim says “I was motivated to do the old/new collages as something that combined my interest in history and photography as a fun exercise.”

Fore street 'then and now' Jim Goddard
Fore street ‘then and now’ Jim Goddard

Jim initially posted his photographs on the popular Bridgwater Past & Present facebook site but has plans to exhibit them in the town “..hopefully at the Arts Centre.” He also has plans for a future personal website where he can continue to experiment with his photography. Jim explains “I intend to continue my ‘Then and Now’ and ‘Streets of Bridgwater’ projects and to continue working with my models for a yet to be named graphic art/photography project.”

Westover councillor and historian Brian Smedley says “Jim’s meticulous and hauntingly evocative images of Bridgwater past and present are certainly inspiring in a town where past glories and lost heritage sit heavily in the minds of local people, who often feel their town is being taken away from them.  They provide a window into  more affluent times where communities were stronger, industry and commerce fed each other and people worked together to control the fruits of their labour and their natural environment. I was massively impressed when I first saw Jim’s work and for the first time I felt I was suddenly able to step back in time from the comfort of a familiar location. “

More prosperous times in Eastover. Photo by Jim Goddard.
More prosperous times in Eastover. Photo by Jim Goddard.

Jim says “I don’t have any specific influences. I might see an interesting photograph and set out to try and recreate the style, then run with it, putting a new twist on it and seeing where it takes me. My portraits have been described as a bit gritty. I show things as they are, no photo-shopping away any imperfections. I try not to alter photographs at all. It’s usually just cropping to frame the subject better – ie;correcting my own errors not creating an untrue image.”

Jim can be contacted on tsunami0005@hotmail.com

Further examples of Jim’s work can be seen on the Angelwing Facebook site