‘Old Photos In Real Life’: 35 Pics That Show How Much Time Affects Everything (New Pics) Interview
Our passion for photography is only matched by our love of history and everything that’s vintage. We firmly believe that only a solid grasp of history can help us avoid repeating the mistakes of the past and lead to a better future for everyone. And there’s nothing like a direct comparison to really show us how much time and life have changed things.
That’s the beauty of the ‘Old Photos In Real Life’ subreddit, a celebration of the contrast between the past and modern life. The page features photos from both the past and present, comparing them side by side in order for everyone to truly get how deep some of the changes go. And, in some rare cases, how in some locations things have pretty much stayed more or less the same over the decades and even centuries.
Scroll down for the best pics featured by ‘Old Photos In Real Life,’ and remember to upvote the ones that impressed you the most. Tell us all about your favorite pics and why you enjoyed them in the comment section at the bottom of this list, dear Pandas. Meanwhile, if you’re in the mood for some more great examples of rephotography, be sure to check out these articles right here and here.
Bored Panda got in touch with moderator u/Npbugati who told us all about the history of r/OldPhotosInRealLife, how they created a 'ghost' bot to help moderate the community, and why the subreddit is important to them. Scroll down for Bored Panda's interview with them, as well as for our chat about rephotography with professional photographer Dominic Sberna.
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Moderator u/Npbugati was kind enough to tell us about the entire inspiration behind the subreddit. "Much like many other subreddits created here on Reddit, this subreddit spawned from a comment thread in another unrelated subreddit where a set of images was posted on another subreddit," they said, drawing attention to something that has happened time and time again.
"A friend of mine from high school (who has since deleted his account) originally created the subreddit and added me as a moderator. The first post on the subreddit can be found here and is the image that spawned it's creation," they shared with us.
According to the redditor, their role as moderators is usually pretty hands-off. "We want to allow the community's upvotes to provide most of the encouragement to keep posts high quality," they said that they trust the community. However, in some cases, the mods inevitably have to get involved for everyone's sake.
Here’s A Wonderful 1915 Pasadena Craftsmen Located In Bunglsow Heaven That I Had The Pleasure Of Purchasing And Restoring A Few Years Back. Although This House Was Only 950 Sqft It Took Nearly 2 Years To Complete The Renovations Due To Working With The Pasadena Historical Society And City Permitting
Chróstnik Palace 2009 vs. 2021. Chróstnik, Lubin County, Poland.
"Sometimes, we will have posts that encourage some user to act out in the comments or become overly political or rude. In times like these, we will step in and moderate as necessary to keep the comment section positive. As I am a software developer, I have created a 'ghost' bot of my own that monitors every post and every comment made on the subreddit, scanning for potential issues and even specific keywords, and will create custom reports for us. This bot does not have moderator status itself to keep its identity completely private and its actions invisible," they told Bored Panda about how they've made their own easier by using their real-life skills.
For the moderator, it's the historical, architectural, and even scientific aspects of the photo comparisons that keep them passionate about the entire community and the photos posted. "I of course think that it is important for us to have a great understanding of history and its importance to how we function today. I also just find the preservation of these ancient buildings and structures into modern-day very interesting to look at and research more as they are posted."
They continued: "Even if a user is not involved in the related history, the comparisons of the effect that rebuilding and expansion of locations over time can be amazing to compare."
Borodyanka, Ukraine – Before The War And Today
Railway Station In Okhtyrka, Ukraine
Meanwhile, photographer Dominic shared his opinion on rephotography. "I think that comparing the same place in different years is fascinating. It can show great progress in an area of the world or how things may have not changed for the better. It's just really cool to see how a place looked before in comparison to now," photographer Dominic shared his thoughts with Bored Panda.
Bored Panda was interested to get the photography expert's opinion on the technical side of things, too. We asked Dominic how to get the biggest amount of detail in our snaps.
Moore Hall, Ireland, 1800s vs. Today
For The First Time In 76 Years, Wwii Veteran Robert White Stands In The Vicinity In Which He Landed After Jumping Into Germany In March Of 1945. He Was As A Paratrooper With The 17th Airborne Division.
Odessa, Ukraine 1942- And Today
"Increasing detail really comes down to the equipment being used. While there are editing techniques to bring out more detail, you need a good baseline to start with," he explained that every photographer should focus on the gear first and software second.
Dominic shared that, in his opinion, mirrorless cameras (aka digital single-lens mirrorless or electronic viewfinder interchangeable lens cameras) have been a major recent breakthrough in photography technology. "I cannot say how soon I will be buying one, but I do believe there is a solid outlook for the future of these cameras," he said.
Newcastle Castle, UK - 1895 To 2022
A 3.300-Year-Old Chariot Bridge Is Still In Use Today. The Arkadiko Bridge Was Built Between 1300 And 1190 Bce, Making It One Of The Oldest Still-Used Arch Bridges Still In Existence. It Was Built On A Road That Linked Tiryns To Epidaurus, And Was Part Of A Larger Military Road System.
Tunnel Rock At Sequoia National Park, 1952 And 2020
The road was closed off to preserve the structure of the hanging rock. And to prevent someone from getting smashed I'm sure. May it last another 100 years
The r/OldPhotosInRealLife community is made up of 626k members and counting. The subreddit has been active since 2016 and runs a tight ship with regard to the content posted. For instance, they ask their members to, at most, make a single post each day.
“To reduce spam and karma farming in general, do not post more than once a day. If you fail to follow this rule the posts will be removed and you may receive a temporary or permanent ban,” the mods stress that quality is more important than quantity.
Bhitargaon Temple, Kanpur, India. 1875 And 2011. Built In 5th Century Ce And Renovated By British In 1901. It's The Oldest Surviving Brick Structure In India
Glad it’s one ancient site being preserved and restored rather than shelled or knocked down.
Before And After Boston's Big Dig, 1980s vs. Now
Wait, what? A city got rid of a road in favor of greenery? Bassackards but I love it.
The Arch Of Ctesiphon As It May Have Appeared In 600ad. Compared To Its Remaining Ruins Today In Iraq
Much of its damage is a lot more modern than you might think. It was heavily hit by the British during WW1 and no doubt by later invasions from various factions.
What’s more, the moderators ask the members of the community to be excellent and polite to each other. There’s no room for rudeness when there are so many fantastic photos to enjoy.
Rephotography can be as varied as the photographers who snap the pictures. For instance, some professionals make sure to take the photo in the same location during the same season and similar time of day, from the same angle and using the same framing.
Naturally, that requires a lot of research and lots of hours spent examining a particular historical photo in minute detail.
Washington Square Arch In NYC
The Monstrosity That Was The Kowloon Walled City
The thing is, most of the people living there were forcibly kicked out without anywhere to go. They wanted to clean the space because it was a stain on the image of the city, not because they cared about the welfare of the people. They were compensated of course. Of roughly $350 million, divided amongst the ~50000 residents. Which equates to roughly $7000 per person. Which is nowhere enough to survive without a home. Was the walled city awful? Yes. But the people living there, lived in their own prosperity; in their own eco-system, untouched by outside authorities. It's debatable to say whether demolishing the city is actually progress, or if it's just capitalism.
Wrocław 1945 And 2022
Others, however, take a more relaxed approach when it comes to ‘then and now’ pictures. For them, the location and the approximate similar angle are more important than everything else. Whether you go for a thoroughly analytical or more chill rephotography philosophy comes down to personal taste and differences in character.
Rephotography isn’t just great to look at, it provides real-world value. For example, scientists can compare photos to see how erosion affects the land in a particular location. Meanwhile, sociologists can compare photos to understand social change better.
Scientific value aside, when we can directly compare historical photos, we can track change and understand—in great detail—the events that happened in the past. That way, we can have a firm grasp of the truth and avoid fake news, misinformation, and historical revisionism.
Panch Ratha Monument, Mahabalipuram, India. Monolithic Temples Sculptured From Granite Rocks Between 630 - 668 Ce. 1825 Sketch By J. Braddock J. Gantz And Now. It's A Unesco World Heritage Site.
Circa 1803 Hope Plantation, Windsor, North Carolina Before And After Restoration
The Lincoln Memorial In 1920 Before The Reflecting Pool Was Built.
The reflecting pool does add to the site. It looked abandoned before and like the swamp it probably was.
Joseph M. Pierre, a professor of psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, previously explained to Bored Panda why some people believe in conspiracy theories, how they’re tied to historical events, and which events appear to attract more lies than others.
According to the professor of psychiatry, people in the past were just as smart as we are now. And, with a few exceptions, a similar part of society tends to believe in conspiracies throughout history, no matter the time period. But the less safe people feel, generally, the more conspiracies thrive.
Same Car 1988 vs. 2021, Somewhere In Japan
Captured Japanese Mini Submarine In The Aleutian Islands, 1943 And 2021
Bok Tower (Built 1929) And Today …
That looks like it could be one of the towers in Lord of the Rings
“The only spike [in believing in conspiracies] from the 20th Century occurred during the 1950’s communist ‘red scare,’” Professor Pierre said. However, this doesn’t change the fact that some conspiracy theorists choose specific historical events over and over again for whatever social or political aims they have in mind.
“It is true that certain historical events do tend to attract conspiracy theories and there is evidence that times of societal upheaval or crisis when people are feeling unsafe and desperate for clarity offer a kind of fertile soil for conspiracy theory beliefs,” the expert revealed.
Unknowingly Captured The Same Image In 2020 That My Dad Took On Vacation Back In 1965 - Shenandoah Np
Times Square A Few Years Apart
The Mahabodhi Temple At Bodh Gaya, India, As Seen From A Second Century Plaque And How It Looks Like Today
I'd love to see something that old! Would I be allowed to touch it? I love touching old things and imagining the people from the past who have touched it too.
“Over the past 60 years, the assassination of JFK, the death of Princess Diana, and 9/11 are the most obvious examples of national traumas surrounded by conspiracy theory beliefs,” the psychology professor told Bored Panda.
“We should acknowledge that many conspiracy theories, like the idea that the Earth is flat, aren’t really based on any kind of obvious traumatic event,” he added that not all conspiracies or instances of fake news are associated with traumatic events.
Manhattan, 1931 To 2018
And yet there’s actually LESS people living in Manhattan today than there was then (in 1930 it was 1,867,312 and today it’s around 1,694,251). We’ve just added more skyscrapers and found new ways to live.
Chernobyl Power Plant Control Room In 1986 And Now
Probably looks a lot worse now due to the recent Russian take over.
Sas-Bahu Temple, Gwalior Fort, Gwalior, India. 1869 And 2019. The Temple Was Built In 1093.
“People who believe in conspiracy theories are also often attracted to the Manichean narratives that conspiracy theories offer, involving battles of good and evil pitting against each other in an almost apocalyptic fashion. So, it should come as no surprise that conspiracy theories might sprout up from World War II—a real-life apocalyptic battle between good and evil,” the expert told us.
Clifton Rocks Railway, Clifton, Bristol. 1905 And Today
There is a restoration group working to get this running again. Support them online.
Family Farmhouse 1912-2022 (I'd Especially Like To Note That The Green Bench Has Been On The Front Porch For At Least 110 Years)
On the right side photo, next to the left column and in front of the window, there is a ghost woman with a hat.
Hiking On The Faroes Guided By The Old Cairns
Edinburgh Princes Street, 1996 - Now
Nickelodeon Studios In The 90’s vs. The Same Building Today
The Manufacture, Lodz, Poland. 1980's vs. Now
My Town’s Fire House: Circa 1926 vs. 2021
Noorabad Bridge, Morena, India. 1829 And 2018. Built 1605-1627.
Mont Saint Michel, France, 1908-2016
Radar O'reiley From Opening Credits Of M*a*s*h 1972 And Me In Close To The Same Spot 2019.
I really appreciate this one for it’s ridiculousness 😂
Irpin, Ukraine, Europe
Why is russia doing this to innocent people!? It is so sad.
120 Years Apart, Saltwell Park, Gateshead, UK
I Went To Petra, Jordan; Where They Filmed Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade
Rio De Janeiro, Brasil 100 Years Apart
Is that the same little church peeking through the trees there?
Griffith Park Observatory With The Los Angeles Cityscape In The Background (Ca. 1930s / 2019)
Royal Hotel Also Called As Rajkumari Bai Ki Kothi, Jabalpur India. Built 1857. Photos From 1860 And 2109.
Over 100 Years Apart, Newcastle's Central Station, UK (Angles Slightly Off)
"Angles slightly off" LOL, miles better than most on here.
Detroit: A Decade Of Change From ~2010-2021 (Google Maps)
Vamana Temple, Khajuraho, India. Built 1050. Pictured In 1871 And 2010.
C.1904 Colorized Library Of Congress Photo Of The Eden Park Reservoir And Pumping Station Near Cincinnati, Ohio. Built From 1866 - 1878 And In Use Until 1965. Remains Shown In Photo Below.
Shame it’s been lost, that is a beautiful structure in the top image
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, 1930 And Now
Ooth Kadal Bridge, In Middle Of Dal Lake, Srinagar, Kashmir, India. 1891, 2019, 2021. Built In 1670's By The Mughals. Restored In 2021 With The Help Of German Government.
The middle picture actually looks quite nice. The 2021 doesn’t look appealing at all.