By Elaine Marze
hat do you get when you have twin brothers who are also best friends, business partners, and passionate about producing and displaying history while sharing it with others? If you are Mark and Mike Mangham, it means forming a unique business called Twin Blends Photography, where the past and present collide -- via Mark’s drone piloting and Mike’s editing genius -- to create something that provides historical value to the community.
“We take vintage photos and blend them with photos taken from the same location today. People love to see the history and the contrast,” Mike explained. Mark followed up with, “Our goal is to get people to appreciate the history we have in our city and to save and share it for future generations.” And, no, they were not passionate about their history classes in high school, but they sure appreciate history now.
When the Mangham brothers decided to take up amateur photography it was with the realization that they could not participate in sports as they had in their younger years. They figured photography would be easier on their bodies but had no idea their new “hobby” would be so popular with the public. Mike had an idea to visit some historic sites around Shreveport and take a picture, then find a vintage photo of the same location and place the images side by side. “Blending the two together into a single image just happened,” he said.
The brothers first posted their photos to Facebook on the Southern Hills group page. Later, Mark and Mike created a Now and Then map of 100 historic places and posted it in hopes that people would use it to drive around to historic buildings and compare the past with the present.
It takes a lot of time going through the LSUS archives where Mike and Mark find old photos from the past. “We go to the exact location in present day and snap our own pictures and then combine the two,” Mike said. Their own projects and requests from various individuals have built up a backlog, but Mike says retirement from his day job is on the horizon so eventually they will have more time to spend on their photography business. Though they have used private photos to create some past and present compilations, they also spend hours going through the millions of negatives in LSUS archives. Mike thinks the oldest photos they’ve used were from 1875.
Current projects include reunion videos for Woodlawn, Coushatta, and Dixie High Schools. They’ve even done funeral videos, and they enjoy metal-detecting, especially for Civil War era “treasures.” Their wives love that the brothers work and play together so well, and the public can view what they do. Personality plus talent … a winning combination and a perfect blend.