I’ve been taking pictures all my life. My parents bought me my first camera – a Kodak Instamatic – when I was 10 years old. I took pictures of everything: people, places, animals, nature, and inanimate objects. It didn’t matter what, I just loved taking pictures. One of the most exciting things about photography back then was taking rolls of undeveloped film cartridges to the local drugstore and waiting days to see the prints once they were ready. They’d come back freshly delivered in yellow Kodak envelopes with center dividers separating the prints from the negatives. I still have hundreds of them.

It was also a time when I developed a lifelong interest in history. Growing up in Boston, my parents would take me to all the historic Revolutionary War-era sites, where, naturally, I’d take lots of pictures. I was 16 when we moved to Northern Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington DC., and I spent the entire first summer there exploring our nation’s capital. Later, during my college years at Virginia Tech, I visited many of the Civil War-era battlefields, such as Gettysburg, Manassas, and Antietam. These places left an indelible mark on me.

More info: markhersch.com | Instagram | Facebook

#1

Chicago, Mercury Train Leaving Chicago 1936 / 2020

Chicago, Mercury Train Leaving Chicago 1936 / 2020

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Flash forward 50 years.

When I turned 60, preparing to retire from a career in marketing and advertising, I began to think about what I would do next. I had been taking pictures all my life, and by now photography had gone digital. Over the years I acquired some high-end equipment, including a NIKON D850 professional camera and a half dozen top lenses. I also taught myself Photoshop and other photo software programs.

Then one day in 2016 I came across some really old pictures of Chicago, where I have lived for over 20 years. These pictures date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. I thought it would be interesting to find those locations, take identical pictures a hundred years later, and compare them to the originals. I took a few and looked at them side by side with the originals. I didn’t even know there was a name for this: rephotography – pictures taken of the same place from the same vantage point at two different moments in time.

#3

Boston, Quincy Market 1900 / 2018

Boston, Quincy Market 1900 / 2018

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Bella St John
Community Member
2 days ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Ahhhh, now that's more like it! A slower pace of life... <3

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As interesting as it was looking at these images side by side, I thought it would be even more interesting to digitally blend them together, creating a single image that was part old and part new. I did a few of them and showed them to my friends. They were blown away. They suggested I show my work at art fairs and festivals. So, I did! But first, I needed a greater body of work.

By 2017 I had created 10 images. I applied to a few art shows in Chicago, and to my complete shock, I was accepted into all of them! Not only that, I won several awards, got a bit of local publicity, and invitations to return the following year. But more importantly, people were buying my photographs!

I began amassing dozens of historical photographs of cities all over the country. I traveled to these cities, found the exact locations, took all the photographs, then went home, created my blended images, and applied them to local art fairs. I called my collection “Time After Time”. By 2018, I was exhibiting at prestigious art festivals in Chicago, Boston, New York, and Washington DC. My booth was packed at every show. No one had ever seen anything like it. Sales were beyond my wildest imagination. I now had a second career – as a fine art photographer!

#4

New York, A Bird's Eye View Of New York 1851 / 2020

New York, A Bird's Eye View Of New York 1851 / 2020

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Fantastic Mr Fox
Community Member
4 days ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

In 1850 the New York City population was around 515 thousands. In 2020 it was 8,4 million. In 1850 the whole US population was 23 million. In 2020 it was 331 million. Isn't that mind blowing?

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#5

London Bridge 1900 / 2022

London Bridge 1900 / 2022

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Julian Heal
Community Member
4 days ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

And the second photo is a combination of two views looking south and north.

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Now, at the start of 2023, I have created over 500 images across 17 U.S. cities, plus London, England, and Havana, Cuba. I’ve published 7 Time After Time books and have my own art gallery. I’ve been commissioned to create custom pieces for individuals and corporations. Perhaps my biggest honor was a commission to create a series of images of George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate, where my work is featured: at the home of the first President of the United States!

The stories I could tell would fill volumes. The best way to tell them is to answer some of the questions I frequently get asked.

#6

New Orleans, Canal Street 1907 / 2019

New Orleans, Canal Street 1907 / 2019

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#7

Fire! San Francisco Earthquake And Fire Of 1906 / 2022

Fire! San Francisco Earthquake And Fire Of 1906 / 2022

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How do you do it?

It starts with the right source images. They must be in high resolution, or they won’t enlarge well enough to print. I obtain these images from historical societies, museums, libraries, universities, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and other institutions. Once I have the source image, I go out, find the exact location, and take my shot, using great care to match the angle, perspective, focal length, and lighting…even waiting for the right time of day so that the shadows align. Shutter speeds and apertures play a role too. I like to say that my work is part science and part art. Science is doing all those things correctly. Art is what creates the final blended image. There’s no right way or wrong way to do it. I just look for the most compelling pieces in each photo and try to create a seamless, believable transition between old and new.

How long does it take to create an image?

It depends on when you start the clock! I spend thousands of hours researching, finding, obtaining, and restoring source images, traveling to different cities, doing the shooting, cataloging everything, and then sitting down to edit. Each picture takes anywhere from 8 to 16 hours of editing. It’s almost funny to call myself a photographer because taking a picture is the least of what I do!

#8

Chicago, Graham & Morton Line Docks 1905 / 2019

Chicago, Graham & Morton Line Docks 1905 / 2019

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#9

Los Angeles Street North From First Street 1910 / 2021

Los Angeles Street North From First Street 1910 / 2021

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Angi
Community Member
2 days ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I like the fact that we are planting trees in cities now.

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What was your favorite city to shoot?

I like different cities for different reasons. Chicago is my home, so I have a greater selection of images from here than from any other city. New York and Los Angeles are always exciting cities to visit, and I’ve shot in both cities twice. I think my San Francisco set is unique because all the source images were taken in 1906, in the aftermath of the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. My San Francisco collection shows how the city was rebuilt after the fire. New Orleans was a lot of fun too. But there’s so much great food and drink in New Orleans, I had to remember to carve out some time to work!

#11

Havana Cuba, The Prado Looking North 1901 / 2019

Havana Cuba, The Prado Looking North 1901 / 2019

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Do you have a favorite image?

With over 500 images to choose from, that’s a tough question. I have some personal favorites for different reasons. In each city, one of my images becomes my signature piece, the one everybody loves. In Chicago, it’s “State Street South Lake Street”; in New York, “Brooklyn Bridge”; in Boston, “Quincy Market”; in London, “Houses of Parliament”. I have other favorites too, because of the history embedded within the photograph. One such piece is “Randolph Street East From Dearborn Street, Chicago”, a piece I created last year. The source image was taken in 1914. On the side of a building, you can see a white sign. It is an advertising sign from Cunard Lines, the famed steamship company promoting the voyages of three of the world’s biggest passenger ships: Aquitania, Mauritania, and Lusitania.

Two years before the picture was taken, on April 15, 1912, Mauritania was sailing out of Liverpool to New York when a transmission came that the Titanic (owned by rival company White Star Lines) had struck an iceberg. Another Cunard ship, Carpathia, also received the transmission. Traveling at full speed, Carpathia reached the scene in less than three hours and was able to rescue 705 people. By the time Mauritania arrived, it was too late. There were no passengers left to rescue. A vigil was held onboard for the victims.

Less than a year after this picture was taken, on May 7, 1915, Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-boat off the southern coast of Ireland. She sank in 18 minutes, killing 1,198 passengers and crew. Among those killed were 128 Americans. Their deaths created a public outcry and hastened the United States’ entry into WWI. And in a cruel twist of fate, Carpathia was herself sunk by a torpedo fired from a German U-boat on July 17, 1918, just four months before the end of WWI.

So on the side of a building in a rare photograph taken in Chicago in 1914, lies the story of two of the greatest maritime disasters of the 20th century!

#12

Boston, Trinity Church 1900 / 2018

Boston, Trinity Church 1900 / 2018

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The Original Bruno
Community Member
3 days ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That's pretty much how it looks. Surreal.

#13

Chicago, George Streeter And The Reutan 1902 / 2022

Chicago, George Streeter And The Reutan 1902 / 2022

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What are some other things you’ve done?

I’ve created two other sets of Time After Time images that people like, and so do I! The first is a collection of pictorial maps. Pictorial maps (also known as illustrated maps, panoramic maps, perspective maps, or bird’s-eye view maps) were popular in the mid-19th century. The most well-known was published by Currier & Ives. They employed painters, illustrators, and engravers to produce these incredible works of art.

Pictorial maps show an area as if viewed from above at an oblique angle. They are not generally drawn to scale, though many are accurate enough to be captured in a similar perspective today using aerial photography shot from the same angle. To do that, I used satellite imagery from Landsat and Google Earth to capture a shot from the same angle as the original map. I then blended them together – a combination of 19th-century engraving and 21st-century satellite photography. Pretty cool! I have done over 40 pictorial maps, with more to come.

Lastly, a number of my pieces show scenes containing buildings with neon signs and large windows, street lamps, cars with headlights, and other things that I thought would look interesting at night. So I used a digital technique known as day-to-night conversion and I did a whole series, using my original Time After Time image, and converting it into a nighttime scene. Some people think the nighttime scenes are better than the daytime scenes! You be the judge.

If you’d like to know more, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

#14

London, Houses Of Parliament 1890 / 2022

London, Houses Of Parliament 1890 / 2022

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xXSamTheBoxerLoverXx
Community Member
8 hours ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Did it change? Those look like the same photo 🤣🤣🤣

#15

Chicago, Arriving From The Suburbs 1907 / 2019

Chicago, Arriving From The Suburbs 1907 / 2019

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#16

New York, Brooklyn Bridge 1899 / 2022

New York, Brooklyn Bridge 1899 / 2022

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Kar Red Roses
Community Member
1 day ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The guy in the bowler hat looking back us from at the photo is creeping me out.

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#17

Chicago, Wrigley Field 1939 / 2019

Chicago, Wrigley Field 1939 / 2019

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Jen M
Community Member
2 days ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Is the only change the cars and rooftop AC Units?

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#18

Boston Pictorial Map 1850 / 2021

Boston Pictorial Map 1850 / 2021

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#19

Chicago, Shore Drive Lincoln Park 1905 / 2016

Chicago, Shore Drive Lincoln Park 1905 / 2016

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#20

Chicago, Dearborn Street Bridge 1918 / 2022

Chicago, Dearborn Street Bridge 1918 / 2022

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#21

San Francisco, Van Ness Avenue 1906 / 2018

San Francisco, Van Ness Avenue 1906 / 2018

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#22

Chicago, Boat House Lincoln Park 1905 / 2018

Chicago, Boat House Lincoln Park 1905 / 2018

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#23

Chicago, The Dream City 1893 / 2018

Chicago, The Dream City 1893 / 2018

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Bill Swallow
Community Member
4 hours ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It looks like the Squint-a-Vision caption underneath "The Dream City" reads "The World Columbia Exposition". With that, and the Chicago 1893 setting, the 'Dream City' would appear to be the event also known as "The White City" - the 1893 Chicago Exposition / World's Fair. A remarkable event and a remarkable achievement, this Exposition was marred by being the venue for America's first Serial Killer, 'H. H. Holmes', who set up a hotel that he deliberately designed as a "Murder Palace", luring in fairgoers and killing them. This true story is recounted in Erik Larson's book, "The Devil in the White City". Interestingly, the 1939 New York World's Fair was also beset by violence, in that case, a terrorist bombing, as recounted in James Mauro's excellent book, "Twilight at the World of Tomorrow".

#24

Baltimore, Pictorial Map 1880 / 2021

Baltimore, Pictorial Map 1880 / 2021

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#25

Boston, Copley Square 1900 / 2018

Boston, Copley Square 1900 / 2018

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#26

Chicago, Looking North From Van Buren Station 1915 / 2019

Chicago, Looking North From Van Buren Station 1915 / 2019

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#27

Chicago, Randolph Street East From Dearborn 1914 / 2022

Chicago, Randolph Street East From Dearborn 1914 / 2022

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#28

Chicago, State Street And Marshall Field's 1915 / 2018

Chicago, State Street And Marshall Field's 1915 / 2018

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Kar Red Roses
Community Member
1 day ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

For a time, the Fields building was the largest store in the world at 73 acres (300,000 sq. m) of floorspace, with the largest book, china, shoe, and toy departments of all the world's department stores. It had the first-ever bridal registry, the first in-store dining facilities, the first, European buying office, the first offer personal shopping assistants, and the first department store to have escalators. The building itself was twelve floors, made of granite, well appointed and beautiful, with a Louis Comfort Tiffany glass ceiling dome in one of its three atria, and ornate store clocks on 2 of the external corners.

#29

Day To Night: Los Angeles, Broadway Building Hollywood 1947 / 2021

Day To Night: Los Angeles, Broadway Building Hollywood 1947 / 2021

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#30

George Washington's Mount Vernon 1858 / 2021

George Washington's Mount Vernon 1858 / 2021

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Edison Michael
Community Member
2 hours ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I mean, isn't it chosing a historic building kind of cheating?

#31

George Washington's Tomb At Mount Vernon 1878 / 2018

George Washington's Tomb At Mount Vernon 1878 / 2018

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Kar Red Roses
Community Member
1 day ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I own a couple century-old postcards of this tomb.. One of them somebody put glitter on! Fun(?)fact- The government wanted to iinter George Washington in the District of Columbia, underneath the Capitol and there is in the basement an empty tomb there that was made for him, just left there.

#32

New York, Plaza Hotel 1900 / 2018

New York, Plaza Hotel 1900 / 2018

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#33

New York, Times Square 1905 / 2018

New York, Times Square 1905 / 2018

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#34

Boston, Subway Entrance At Boston Common 1900 / 2018

Boston, Subway Entrance At Boston Common 1900 / 2018

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#35

London, Tower Of London 1890 / 2022

London, Tower Of London 1890 / 2022

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#36

Los Angeles, Hollywood Boulevard West From Vine Street 1937 / 2022

Los Angeles, Hollywood Boulevard West From Vine Street 1937 / 2022

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#37

New Orleans, French Market 1910 / 2018

New Orleans, French Market 1910 / 2018

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#38

Boston, Tremont Street 1899 / 2018

Boston, Tremont Street 1899 / 2018

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#39

Chicago, Experimental Streetcar On State Street 1933 / 2019

Chicago, Experimental Streetcar On State Street 1933 / 2019

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#40

New York, Flatiron Building 1904 / 2018

New York, Flatiron Building 1904 / 2018

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#41

San Francisco, Phelan Building 1906 / 2018

San Francisco, Phelan Building 1906 / 2018

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Bella St John
Community Member
2 days ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Congratulations! For me, while your talent and ideas are great, possibly the thing I find most astounding is that you have found photos of essentially the same view years apart. Well done!

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#42

Chicago, Wabash Avenue North From Adams 1900 / 2017

Chicago, Wabash Avenue North From Adams 1900 / 2017

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#43

San Francisco, Ferry Building 1906 / 2018

San Francisco, Ferry Building 1906 / 2018

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#44

Day To Night: Chicago, State And Randolph 1933 / 2022

Day To Night: Chicago, State And Randolph 1933 / 2022

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#45

Day To Night: Chicago, Tunnel Entrance Lasalle & Randolph 1905 / 2022

Day To Night: Chicago, Tunnel Entrance Lasalle & Randolph 1905 / 2022

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#46

Boston, Tremont Street 1899 / 2018

Boston, Tremont Street 1899 / 2018

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#47

Washington Dc, East Capitol Street 1900 / 2018

Washington Dc, East Capitol Street 1900 / 2018

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#48

Chicago, Goodrich Docks 1905 / 2019

Chicago, Goodrich Docks 1905 / 2019

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#49

Chicago, State Street South Of Lake Street 1900 / 2017

Chicago, State Street South Of Lake Street 1900 / 2017

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#50

Chicago, Lasalle And Madison Streets 1905 / 2019

Chicago, Lasalle And Madison Streets 1905 / 2019

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