The Mystery of Photo 439 and Photo 441

I learned something new today.

Visual literacy is the ability to interpret, negotiate, and make meaning from information presented in the form of an image. Visual literacy is based on the idea that pictures can be “read” and that meaning can be communicated through a process of reading. (Wikipedia)

Thanks to Gary who exposes me to this term. I'm beginning to realize that understanding the 19th century photos involves some sort of "visual literacy". I find it interesting to find out that I'm engaging myself in a new creative process.

Our meeting tonight didn't cover as much as I would've wanted to because we got stuck in analyzing the photos of the church. An hours worth of debate whether or not the churches are the same picture and the churches are really Manila Cathedral or San Augustin Church which are both located in the Intramuros made the group stretch its patience and finally fall in resignation. We had to agree on something. Or else we will not move.

In business school I remember a brainstorming process discussed in one of our case studies of 3M and IDEO. They used such a chaotic process of brainstorming that led to really bright ideas far beyond the normal process of thinking. I love being in that kind of process. Minus having to deal with perhaps the people who are not flexible in adjusting their perspectives.

The debate began because in Photo 439, we could not tell which side of the church the 19th century photograph is after looking at modern photos of the Manila Cathedral as sampled below.

I tried to look for photos of the old Manila Cathedrals in the internet but could not find any to compare with because this modern day Manila Cathedral looks like it has been renovated a lot of times already. In the middle of trying to figure this out, Jarro brought up that perhaps Photo 439 might be San Augustin Church which is located in the same area.

Jarro was discussing this theory with Katrise until they concluded that it might still be Manila Cathedral because they found this dome behind the steeple I was referring to.

I tried to keep to my trail of thought while they kept to theirs so that we can find more theories about the photographs. After they left I continued to dig into what I was thinking. I looked at 439 again. And I looked 441. I was drawn to the dome because it was the one thing similar in all church photographs. The dome is pretty distinct with its architecture. The dome in 439 seemed to be the same as the dome of 441. I looked at 441 and 444. Since I was battling with the "dome theory" and wondered if 444 is the same Cathedral as 439 because of the differences in the angle the photo was taken, I stopped and just looked a little bit more closely at photo 441.

I noticed that there is a fence-like perimeter in photo 441. This fence-like perimeter is the same as Photo 444. The dome in photo 441 is also pretty much the same as photo 439. Letting these thought rest in my head, I started to stop searching for photos of Manila Cathedral and started to search for photos of Binondo Church instead. Keeping in mind what Gary had said that the labels in the photographs might be wrong.

Photo 441

Photo 444

These are some of the photos I found on Binondo Church. The one below is a picture of the church after the 1863 earthquake found on this website. Details to point out in this photo which is similar to photo 441 and 444. The dome. The facade.

This photo was taken after the 1880 earthquake. I found this on this this website with this caption: Francisco van Camp. SHM The 1880 earthquake caused considerable damage in the city of Manila, and particularly to the octagonal, four-section structure of the cathedral.

This one shows the modern day Binondo church which is relatively similar to the 1863 architecture except for the terrace added to the facade of the church. I found this photo on the same website as above.

Present Day Binondo Church

This last photo seems to be my winner also found on the same website. The angle take in this photo looks almost the same as photo 439!

I cannot still make very certain conclusions until I can find photographs of the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros. But I have ruled out San Augustin Church because the dome in that church is found right beside it. However, I have concluded that photo 441 and photo 444 are the same church because of the dome, the facade and the fence-like perimeter.

Somehow photo 439 now adds to the mystery of SNS Manila's journey.

I finish this post at 6:50am after starting it at 11:00pm last night. Drowsiness kicked in and I had to refresh my mind.

Katrise had suggested that I download an iPhone application for GPS that will show us where we are on the map. Katrise won't be with us on Saturday since it will be her birthday but she will be "the guy with the walkie talkie" checking out possibilities online while we are on foot.

We have 2 days left to figure out where to go first. Hopefully we settle that by Friday night.

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Comment by Kathy Ponce on November 26, 2010 at 10:51am
Adi has already sent me all the maps needed for tomorrow. This makes your work easier Jarro.
Comment by Josemaria Alvaro Alejo Cabañes on November 26, 2010 at 10:34am
Nice one Jav, I was busy last nigh plotting the route for our trip tomorrow that I just check this now. Galing!
Comment by Kathy Ponce on November 26, 2010 at 6:58am
Jav! This is awesome. Which means I can take this picture when I go to Cebu in December.
Comment by Kathy Ponce on November 26, 2010 at 6:57am
Hi Gary, I'm not sure about your question yet since I can't see the wikipedia photo I made. But it is possible that it is the wing. However it is taken in a different angle and not directly from the front of the facade since there are only 3 arches if you look at the Cathedral while the tower is on the left. There has to be an alley somewhere in there and we will probably have to ask some of the Cathedral staff to help us out. :)
Comment by GaryMcLeod on November 25, 2010 at 11:31pm
Well done!
Comment by Javi Cabañes on November 25, 2010 at 11:12pm
I don't think we have to worry about photo 444 anymore.

Here's 444

Here's Basilica del Santo Niño, Cebu City

Comment by GaryMcLeod on November 25, 2010 at 9:41pm
So image 443 is essentially of the wing between the tower on the left and the main facade in the center?
Comment by Kathy Ponce on November 25, 2010 at 9:35pm
The photo I just posted is from Wikipedia. This photo was taken in 1880 after the earthquake. The distinct tower appears and now I'm back to thinking about the Manila Cathedral. I need to find more Manila Cathedral photos to compare all these things with. What's distinct about this picture aside from the tower is the second dome to the right which is quite like the photo of Present Day Manila Cathedral above minus the original tower. The Manila Cathedral on present day has a different looking tower. It's not as wide. Wow. It gets even more interesting.
Comment by Kathy Ponce on November 25, 2010 at 9:31pm
Gary's additional input made me re-think and go back to checking for Manila Cathedral photos again. I missed out checking Wikipedia and found this.

Comment by Kathy Ponce on November 25, 2010 at 8:55pm
Oh my! Interesting find Gary. This gets even MORE exciting. :) Can we have the hi-res photos of these too? :) Thank you so much!

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