Monday, July 22, 2024

This photographer scouted over 60 iconic filming locations for an ongoing project. Check out his work

Steve Peterson is a hobby photographer that seeks out filming locations for major productions and reveals their true appearance.

A photographer recently scouted over 60 iconic filming locations in the greater Wilmington area and compared the spots to their cinematic appearances. (COURTESY STEVE PETERSON)
A photographer recently scouted over 60 iconic filming locations in the greater Wilmington area and compared the spots to their cinematic appearances. (COURTESY STEVE PETERSON)

SOUTHEASTERN, N.C.—Steve Peterson is an accountant. His attention to detail has lent him a skill set he employs diligently.

Earlier this month, Peterson scouted over 60 filming locations around the Wilmington area that have been featured in major projects.

When he’s not running numbers, Peterson spends his free time meticulously planning, locating and photographing iconic film locations.

“I do literal spreadsheets for my locations,” Peterson said.

He describes Wilmington as “laid back and beautiful.” Over the last several years, Peterson has sought out hundreds of iconic filming spots in order to compare the locations to the way they were cinematically portrayed.

As a hobby photographer, he posts his work to social media. On Reddit, his work featuring Atlanta received over 32,000 “upvotes.” On Instagram, Peterson operates using the handle “Hollywood_irl” – “irl” meaning “in real life.”

While in the Wilmington area, Peterson scouted the spots featured in productions “Under the Dome,” “Blue Velvet,” “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” “The Conjuring,” and more.

“If you rewind it you see where they walk from you can figure it out,” Peterson said. “It’s kind of some detective work.”

Before arriving on location – which he plots the GPS coordinates of in his spreadsheet – Peterson marks angles of cinematic shots in Photoshop.

“I have a bit of OCD about it,” Peterson said. “There’s nothing worse for me than getting home and it’s like off by three feet.”

Read more: Many of Peterson’s film photos feature the historic Pender County Courthouse. See what’s happening with those iconic trees.

Of the 72 comparisons Peterson mirrored, he was most struck by the portrayal of Burgaw town square in “Under the Dome.”

In the show, Peterson said Burgaw is portrayed as a “bustling little town.” When Peterson visited for his project, he said he did not see a single person the entire time he was there.

“It was just so cool to see that little town,” Peterson said.

He is most drawn by breaking down the finished product of a film into a striking visual contrast.

“To see the detail they can do to transform something so simple into something so elegant,” Peterson said.

Because the major production companies Peterson emulates owns the rights to the image stills, Peterson doesn’t plan to publish his work on his own accord.

Regardless, Peterson is glad to see people appreciate his large body of work.

You can look through all 72 of Peterson’s film locations online.


Johanna Ferebee can be reached at johanna@localvoicemedia.com or @j__ferebee on Twitter

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