Flickr Photos, Then and Now

A wonderfully innovative fan of the Library’s pilot project with Flickr photos decided to restage a World War II-era photo for the modern day, at the same exact location as the original. (The first thing you’ll notice, as the author points out, is that there are many more trees today.)

It immediately reminded me of another photo from the collection (“Factory buildings in Lowell, Mass.?”), on which a commenter posted a link to a photo taken recently from the same vantage point.

There are many interesting things about the Library’s Flickr pilot project, but I get a special kick out of these “then and now” photos. (Then again, stories about time travel were always among my favorites as a child.)

It’s fascinating to see how well a modern photographer can match the exact framing and composition of an original, and then compare the two images side-by-side — almost like looking back through a portal in time.

Wouldn’t it be great to see more of these??


  1. Patrick Peccatte
    June 17, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    It’s a good idea to restage a photo and not only to take a modern one at the same location.
    For our project PhotosNormandie dedicated to re-index a set of WW2 photos (see, we have coined a group called ‘D’hier à aujourd’hui” (from yesterday to now)
    to display old and new photos side by side.

  2. Justin Thorp
    June 18, 2008 at 10:07 am

    I hope they do more “then and now” photos. Those are awesome!!!

  3. Bob Meade
    June 19, 2008 at 8:20 am


    It’s a great idea. Did you know that another institution involved in The Commons on Flickr has found a way to promote that imagery of Then and Now?

    The Powerhouse Museum posts photographs from it’s historical/vintage Tyrell Collection on Flickr here:

    and promotes modern comparison photographs with the “Tyrell Today” Flickr group here:

    The group administrator (who is from the Powerhouse Museum) also trawls Flickr for good comparison images and asks that they be added to the group.

  4. Mobile Blog
    June 28, 2008 at 2:55 am

    Certainly its an excellent idea to restage a photo. Flickr has been excellent in providing the opportunity to upload as many photos one wants to!

  5. Angela
    June 28, 2008 at 4:37 am

    I think Flikr is by far one of the best image sites out there.
    My children are always emailing me with some new amazing photograph I’ve never seen before..
    Truly wonderful.

  6. Medina
    July 1, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Flickr is awesome and I agree I love these then and now photos. Would def love to see more!

  7. Steven
    July 2, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Currently, the restaged flicker photo link is not working. It would be nice to see it :)

  8. amy
    July 5, 2008 at 11:18 am

    I am amazed by some of the photo’s I see on Flickr and many allow me to deisply them on my blogs.
    It is incredible how many great photographers there are out there.
    Especially the landscapes and natural world photos and rare animals and weather.
    It is probably my favourite site on the web.

  9. برامج جوال
    July 7, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    The group administrator (who is from the Powerhouse Museum) also trawls Flickr for good comparison images and asks that they be added to the group.

  10. dai
    July 15, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    It is quite amazing to see how Flickr is a nice candidate of web2.0.
    People share and people comment. These eventually lead to the first principles of “internet”.

  11. Rajesh
    July 25, 2008 at 1:22 am

    Hi! I found the images simply stunning then and now. The idea to restage the images was really good one. Hope to see more of these kind of images.

    Best Regards
    Rajesh Roy

  12. Jessie M.
    November 13, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU for the entire Flickr photo project. I’m not sure who is in charge of it, but what a treasure. It’s so exciting to have all these historic images available for people to view and use.

    Thanks, Library of Congress! Great idea!

  13. Eduardo Mass
    July 9, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    “I hope they do more “then and now” photos. Those are awesome!!!”

    I second that.

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