Tips for doing a Then and Now photo series

Glen Lowry (Vo0Ds), a Flickr user who lives in Edinburgh, re-shot some of the old photos from the National Gallery of Scotland (”as closely as patience and access allowed,” he says) to see exactly how much or how little the city had changed.

Tollbooth and Canongate, Edinburgh:

   Glen, what prompted you to take on this project?
I decided to reshoot these particular photos because they were interesting and the places they were taken from; I was sure that I could get to pretty much the same place today. There were, however, a few shots that I would have liked to get, such as the picture of Lothian Road.

   How about some tips for doing a Then and Now series?
Essential equipment for re-shooting Edinburgh was my trusty TZ2, the photos printed out and stapled back to back inside plastic pockets, a comfortable pair of shoes for all the walking and a good warm coat! I’m lucky that Edinburgh has a very compact city center, all the locations are within a few minutes walking distances and the entire lot could be done in a few hours.

The technique held the picture up to the scene and pick out landmarks that were still there, using these try and get the zoom and distances between landmarks right, it helps if there’s s particular landmark to center the shot on. I took over 10 photos for most shots except princes street, I just snapped that off and thought the street was too busy at the time, once I got home though, the manic nature of the shot was a great contrast to the original. A bit of cropping and color adjustment finished the shots off and the end result was better than I had anticipated and I’m modestly pleased with the project.

   So what’s next?
Erm… I don’t honestly know but I like to travel and if I’m going somewhere I will definitely look up the Commons beforehand, even just for interest’s sake. My girlfriend is taking me to Rome in a few weeks so I will have to have a look and see if there are a few photos I think I can reshoot!

It’s definitely a project I would repeat somewhere else and would urge others to try it and share what they create.