You may have seen some of the “Then and Now” photo websites and groups such as DearPhotograph.com and Looking Into the Past on Flickr that incorporate the old and new by superimposing historical images atop the same site as it appears today. Try it yourself:
- Bring a historic photo to the exact location the photo was taken.
- Hold up the photo at arm’s length, and match up with roof lines, curbs, or other parts of the image that still exist.
- Then snap a picture with your camera of your hand holding the photo. (more detailed instructions can be found here and here)
It’s an instant portal into the past! A variation on the theme is to insert old into new using Photoshop, or to show the Then and Now side-by-side.
There are several groups working on this type of project here in Central Indiana. The Indiana Then and Now group uses photos from public collections such as museum images and WhatWasThere.com, as well as personal family photographs. The Monroe County Historical Society is planning a small exhibit in the future showing the past-and-present style photos of Bloomington Fading. It’s a fun way to get out and appreciate historic architecture and neighborhoods, test your observation skills, or just refresh how you frame up an old photo.
We will be adding these photos to our own version on this website, just look for IndyView Revisited.
This vintage view looking north to Monument from South Meridian Street above, courtesy of Johnson County Museum in Franklin.