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Flickr Photos, Then and Now

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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??

Comments (13)

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

  2. Matt,

    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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

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

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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”.

  10. 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

  11. 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!

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

    I second that.

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