Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Photographic Leap into the Past

Time is a strange and fascinating thing – perhaps it's one of the reasons I like history so much.  I remember when I was in England pondering the worn stairs in the Wells Cathedral and thinking about the many people who had traveled the steps since 1306.

Stairs in the Wells Cathedral

I was checking out the news on the BBC website the other day, when they showed a series of retrophotographs from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.  Retrophotoraphy is the art of taking a modern image at the same location as a historic photograph and displaying or blending the two together.  You can click on the link above, but I'll display a couple of the most powerful ones here also. Oh, and all the photos look better when you click on them and view them larger.

These photos reminded me of some other excellent retrophotography by Sergey Larenkov.  He has done some excellent work based on World War II photographs.  I particularly like the way Larenkov blends the images together.  I'll highlight some of my favorites on the blog today, but you'll want to check out his website for more!  It makes me want to head on down to my local historical society and find some old photos.

German Parade on the Champs Elysees in Paris, 1940 and 2010

Hitler at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, 1940 and 2010

D-Day on Omaha Beach, 1944 and 2010

National Hotel in Moscow, 1941 and 2010

Peterhof Grand Palace in St. Petersburg, 1941 and 2011

German Prisoners in St. Petersburg, 1944 and 2010

Tigrgarten Park in Berlin, 1945 and 2010


DADD said...

That clicking on the circle arrow only works one time.
I find it is not worth the trouble to post on his site anymore.
I went through the effort this morning because it seemed I was being missed. But when I have to try 4 or more times, I dive up.

How about this, I will post on your site and you can repost it on PJM's site?

Judi said...

WOW! These retrophotographs are awesome. I'd never even heard of such a thing. Thanks for keeping us 'up to speed'.
In case anyone is wondering, DADD is talking about the difficulty of posting a comment on Old Picture of the Day because of it's word verification, not here on Nate's.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Nate! These are awesome! Happy leap day!

Anonymous said...

When I was stationed in England, we went to one of the National Heritage sites and climbed the spiral tower staircase. It was a one person staircase. Anyone coming down had to wait on one of the landings while the up going person(s) passed. Very friendly situation to say the least as the two strangers passed each other. The center of all the steps was worn down 2 to 3 inches off the sides, so you also had to be very careful where you stepped. It was very easy to slip off the step or trip. Don't remember how many steps there were, but it was too many...and way too crowded!

I doubt I could even climb them now. I certainly would not try it, in any event.

Oh, the steps were solid stone!

Zelda said...

Such wonderfull pictures. Thank you for sharing with us. I learn so much on this site.

Virgil S. said...

In an effort to help communication, I have cut and pasted DADD's comment on the top of this page to PJM's OPD site. I hope this was a help, but I won't be able to do it every time, I'm afraid.
These retrophotos are cool, thanks for posting, Nate. I wonder if we could make a retrosong, a medley of, say, Garth Brooks and Uncle Dave Macon? A retromeal, a mixture of new & old foods? ...

Unknown said...

His pictures bring history to life. I guess it can be a shock to realize these horrible things really happened.

Nate Maas said...

Rob, I think most people are cognizant that these things happened, but when the photos are combined, it brings the nearness of World War II to life.

Philip said...

I stumbled upon this site out of sheer luck. I love what you do. I do something similar. I use old pictures and then use Google Earth to find the location of those pictures and try to match them up. I love doing it and have been surprised is some cases, when the same thing in an old picture, still remains there to this day. I'm obsessed with it. I LOVE what you do. Keep it up....Sincerely, Philip

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