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.

#1

Holland, 82-2020

Holland, 82-2020

-Johnny- Report

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.

#2

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

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

Viral-Eye Report

#3

Chróstnik Palace 2009 vs. 2021. Chróstnik, Lubin County, Poland.

Chróstnik Palace 2009 vs. 2021. Chróstnik, Lubin County, Poland.

Sexy_Ola_93 Report

MizAdeleM
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Nice to see a renovation instead of a destruction.

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"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."

#4

Borodyanka, Ukraine – Before The War And Today

Borodyanka, Ukraine – Before The War And Today

ViciousNakedMoleRat Report

#6

Railway Station In Okhtyrka, Ukraine

Railway Station In Okhtyrka, Ukraine

IraStegnii Report

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.

#7

Moore Hall, Ireland, 1800s vs. Today

Moore Hall, Ireland, 1800s vs. Today

Jamiegrr Report

#8

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.

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.

DiosMioMan2 Report

howdylee
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My great uncle is currently in Germany visiting the places he had been as a soldier in WWII. https://whdh.com/news/salisbury-wwii-vet-heading-back-to-europe-for-trip-of-a-lifetime/

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#9

Odessa, Ukraine 1942- And Today

Odessa, Ukraine 1942- And Today

Happyintexas Report

"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.

#10

Newcastle Castle, UK - 1895 To 2022

Newcastle Castle, UK - 1895 To 2022

pickindim_kmet Report

#11

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.

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.

iamDB_Cooper Report

#12

Tunnel Rock At Sequoia National Park, 1952 And 2020

Tunnel Rock At Sequoia National Park, 1952 And 2020

Eddielowfilthslayer Report

Raena Celis
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

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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.

#13

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

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

1NbSHXj3 Report

Rabbit Carrot
Community Member
10 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Glad it’s one ancient site being preserved and restored rather than shelled or knocked down.

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#14

Before And After Boston's Big Dig, 1980s vs. Now

Before And After Boston's Big Dig, 1980s vs. Now

redvelvet-cupcake Report

Bobbie Meyers
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Wait, what? A city got rid of a road in favor of greenery? Bassackards but I love it.

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#15

The Arch Of Ctesiphon As It May Have Appeared In 600ad. Compared To Its Remaining Ruins Today In Iraq

The Arch Of Ctesiphon As It May Have Appeared In 600ad. Compared To Its Remaining Ruins Today In Iraq

RonRizzle Report

Rabbit Carrot
Community Member
10 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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.

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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.

#16

Washington Square Arch In NYC

Washington Square Arch In NYC

chazwazzle Report

#17

The Monstrosity That Was The Kowloon Walled City

The Monstrosity That Was The Kowloon Walled City

NoYourself Report

秋也 篠原
Community Member
10 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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.

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#18

Wrocław 1945 And 2022

Wrocław 1945 And 2022

bruheboo Report

Barbara Misztal
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Wrocław is one of the most beautiful city in Poland <3

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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.

#19

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.

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.

1NbSHXj3 Report

#20

Circa 1803 Hope Plantation, Windsor, North Carolina Before And After Restoration

Circa 1803 Hope Plantation, Windsor, North Carolina Before And After Restoration

Viral-Eye Report

MelB.
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I have very mixed feelings about restoring plantations...

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#21

The Lincoln Memorial In 1920 Before The Reflecting Pool Was Built.

The Lincoln Memorial In 1920 Before The Reflecting Pool Was Built.

dudewheresmycars Report

Rabbit Carrot
Community Member
10 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The reflecting pool does add to the site. It looked abandoned before and like the swamp it probably was.

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See Also on Bored Panda

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.

#22

Same Car 1988 vs. 2021, Somewhere In Japan

Same Car 1988 vs. 2021, Somewhere In Japan

noeku1t Report

#23

Captured Japanese Mini Submarine In The Aleutian Islands, 1943 And 2021

Captured Japanese Mini Submarine In The Aleutian Islands, 1943 And 2021

ridjxn Report

#24

Bok Tower (Built 1929) And Today …

Bok Tower (Built 1929) And Today …

Kickernick Report

Henry Hagens
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That looks like it could be one of the towers in Lord of the Rings

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“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.

#25

Unknowingly Captured The Same Image In 2020 That My Dad Took On Vacation Back In 1965 - Shenandoah Np

Unknowingly Captured The Same Image In 2020 That My Dad Took On Vacation Back In 1965 - Shenandoah Np

yespleasetoast Report

#26

Times Square A Few Years Apart

Times Square A Few Years Apart

chazwazzle Report

#27

The Mahabodhi Temple At Bodh Gaya, India, As Seen From A Second Century Plaque And How It Looks Like Today

The Mahabodhi Temple At Bodh Gaya, India, As Seen From A Second Century Plaque And How It Looks Like Today

reeeeeeeeeetarded Report

Just me, myself, and I
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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.

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“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.

#28

Manhattan, 1931 To 2018

Manhattan, 1931 To 2018

PoppinToaster Report

Rabbit Carrot
Community Member
10 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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.

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#29

Chernobyl Power Plant Control Room In 1986 And Now

Chernobyl Power Plant Control Room In 1986 And Now

Scientiaetnatura065 Report

Rabbit Carrot
Community Member
10 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Probably looks a lot worse now due to the recent Russian take over.

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#30

Sas-Bahu Temple, Gwalior Fort, Gwalior, India. 1869 And 2019. The Temple Was Built In 1093.

Sas-Bahu Temple, Gwalior Fort, Gwalior, India. 1869 And 2019. The Temple Was Built In 1093.

1NbSHXj3 Report

“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.

#31

Clifton Rocks Railway, Clifton, Bristol. 1905 And Today

Clifton Rocks Railway, Clifton, Bristol. 1905 And Today

TogderNodger Report

phil bishop
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

There is a restoration group working to get this running again. Support them online.

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#32

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)

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)

CodeE42 Report

Nadine Bamberger
Community Member
10 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

On the right side photo, next to the left column and in front of the window, there is a ghost woman with a hat.

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#33

Hiking On The Faroes Guided By The Old Cairns

Hiking On The Faroes Guided By The Old Cairns

PaulePeterson Report

#34

Edinburgh Princes Street, 1996 - Now

Edinburgh Princes Street, 1996 - Now

Scottish-cunt Report

#35

Nickelodeon Studios In The 90’s vs. The Same Building Today

Nickelodeon Studios In The 90’s vs. The Same Building Today

borshctbeet Report

#36

The First McDonald's In Worcester - 1964 vs. 2021

The First McDonald's In Worcester - 1964 vs. 2021

Garchy Report

Note: this post originally had 106 images. It’s been shortened to the top 36 images based on user votes.