Photo exhibit spotlights Colorado Springs ‘then and now’ as city celebrates 150th anniversary

A local photographer showcases recreations of historic Colorado Springs images in an exhibit that opens this week. The exhibition is part of the city’s 150th anniversary celebration.

Photographer Mike Pach says he didn’t try to reproduce the old photos, but instead sought to do similar scenes highlighting the people and landscape of Colorado Springs today. For example, a photo of Nikola Tesla and his coil.

“The idea I came up with was to photograph Tesla’s hill with lightning bolts in the sky,” Pach said. “And the picture I made … it has 40 pictures. 38 of them have lightning bolts.”

This photo will be unveiled during the opening of the exhibition.

Some of the archive photos included in the exhibit will be familiar – of pioneers standing near Balanced Rock in Garden of the Gods, for example – while others will be a bit surprising.

Courtesy of the City of Colorado Springs, Image by Mike Pach
“Imagine crossing the Bijou Street Bridge many years ago, like in this photo from the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. Although some things have changed, the view of Pikes Peak is still breathtaking. – Mike Pach, photographer. Bijou Street is the main downtown exit off Interstate 25.

“The one that immediately comes to mind is a 1900 photo of the Colorado State Champion’s tug of war team, featuring members of the Colorado Springs Police and Fire Department,” said Pach.

To recreate this photo, he incorporated the Switchbacks football team.

“Since the tug of war team was the champion, I linked them to the Switchbacks because they are part of the City for Champions project,” Pach explained. “So that gave me the opportunity to talk to the people about Switchbacks and to talk a little bit about the City for Champions project.”

Pach said he made an effort to highlight the many ethnic groups in Colorado Springs today. He says he found there was a lack of inclusion of people of color and diverse groups in the city’s archive photos.

The project will end with an exhibition that will present 50 pairs of photographs and will open on July 8, 2021 at Library 21c.

“So in my own way I’m changing that by showing the different groups that we have here in Colorado Springs,” he said. “I think it’s important for us to be as inclusive as possible when we talk about the variety of people we have here and the great things they do in our community.”

The exhibition includes 50 pairs of photos. It will be at Library 21C until the end of August and will then visit various library branches and other locations over the next year.

Pach also plans to publish the images, plus 25 more, in a book.

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