The subreddit r/OldPhotosInRealLife is pretty much the closest thing we have to a time machine. Its 596k members are constantly comparing past and present through rephotography — the act of taking a photo of a place that has already been photographed before. The end result is like a portal, fusing together two different periods.
After we at Bored Panda published our first story on this online community, we've kept an eye on it and quickly realized that its earlier posts weren't a fluke. From overgrown Machu Picchu in 1915 compared to the site in 2020 to visitors in The Metropolitan Museum Of Art in 1910 and 2019, r/OldPhotosInRealLife consistently features interesting angles, presenting things in a different perspective to the one we're used to.
My Family Farm C.1900/2000. It Was In Our Family For 125 Years. My Childhood Bedroom Window Is In The Top Center. It Was Also My Father’s And My Grandfather’s Bedroom
As I wrote in my previous piece, most of these photos portray not only the passage of time but human progress as well. City skylines keep expanding, people within them switch from horses to cars... But that's just the visuals. How do we actually calculate our advancement?
For this task, many use the Human Development Index (HDI). The HDI provides a single index measure to capture three key dimensions of our development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and a decent standard of living.
The Human Development Index utilizes four key metrics:
- life expectancy at birth – to assess a long and healthy life,
- expected years of schooling – to assess access to knowledge for the young generation, 3) average years of schooling – to assess access to knowledge for the older generation, 4) gross national income (GNI) per capita – to assess the standard of living.
Here Is My Great Great Grandfather’s Nashville House In 1896, Two Years Before My Grandfather Was Born. This Picture Has Always Been In The Family Of Course, But Only Today Did I Use Google Maps To Look Up The Address And Find It How It Looks Today. I’m Thrilled That I Found It.
The Golden Cross Inn, Coventry. 1819 vs. Now.
In 2019, the United Nations Development Programme used the HDI to find out which countries are the most developed. The first place went to Norway, Switzerland came in second, and Ireland was third. The US tied the UK for the 15th spot.
Naturally, the HDI -- just like most similar metrics -- has been criticized. Mostly, for the alleged lack of consideration of technological development or contributions to human civilization. But it remains one of the most used measures worldwide to calculate how advanced countries are. Until rephotography takes over!