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Looking into the Past

January 29, 2010

To all the new visitors arriving from wordpress ‘freshly pressed’…welcome! This is Pillar Box Post, a collection of inspiration, as well as a few bits of my own. This post features some amazing photography from the flickr group, ‘Looking into the Past’. You can see more about the individual photographers via the links, or feel free to explore… Thanks for stopping by!

image by Bu Yourself

image by jasonepowell

image by 4Durt

Warning, nerd alert.  How great is this flickr group called ‘looking into the past’? When I was a kid, I spent way too much time with my nose in a book of vintage postcards from my hometown. I think it was in commemoration of 200 years and it was full of black and white postcards/pictures from around our town.  They also threw in a few big events, like when their was a parade with elephants in the early 1900’s. I looooooved looking at a building, seeing where it was taken and then figuring out where it was in town.  It was pretty much fifty/fifty that either I paid more attention to some gorgeous old building I’d walked by nearly every day without notice (but now knew there was a tunnel that connected it to another building…) or I’d pass by the ugly 70’s building, knowing that there had been a beautiful mansion there but it was destroyed by a fire a hundred years ago or something…

image by jasonepowell

image by Ben Dayhoe

image by jasonepowell

image by Tinflower

image by jasonepowell

I actually find normal black and white postcards relatively boring, but when you know an area and can compare the two I think it’s amazing. Who wouldn’t want to notice the bars on the third story windows of your local pizzeria ( because it used to be a prison…) or develop a deep loathing for the sixties government who tore down fabulous churches to put up concrete monstrocities….ewwwwww. So, with that in mind who wants to love this flickr group with me? And by love I mean go to the library and spend all my pocket money on postcards so I can submit some of my own?!

131 Comments leave one →
  1. conradvisionquest permalink
    January 29, 2010 2:18 pm

    these are great!

  2. January 29, 2010 2:33 pm

    how cool! check this out (also published today, coincedentally):

    • Pillar Box Post permalink*
      January 29, 2010 9:17 pm

      That’s brilliant, Laura! Thank you for sharing…I love aerial photographs (at least of places I know). Things take on a whole new look.

  3. January 29, 2010 2:42 pm

    I really like these! Beautifully done!

  4. January 29, 2010 3:02 pm

    All amazing, but the fourth photograph (woman sitting) is a killer!

  5. Thomas John Brown permalink
    January 29, 2010 3:05 pm

    These are really great! Very artistic.

  6. January 29, 2010 3:15 pm

    Great idea and mighty photos!!!

  7. box permalink
    January 29, 2010 3:29 pm


  8. Belle permalink
    January 29, 2010 3:43 pm

    good god. this is brilliant.

  9. January 29, 2010 4:03 pm

    I have seen these before somewhere. Stumble Upon, I think. I love this! 😀

  10. January 29, 2010 5:23 pm

    wow, this is so inspiring! I love the way that you have matched up the pictures exactly! I too am guilty of spending my childhood in books of historic photos – i was fascinated by the whole idea of change an d history – I don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of – we were definitely cool kids! I would actually love to do the same as you have – find today’s version of the photos and compare them – so interesting! Did it take you a long time to trace the address and then match up the picture?

    check out my blog!

    thanks for sharing!

    keep pondering!


    • Pillar Box Post permalink*
      January 29, 2010 9:21 pm

      Hi Luna…Sadly, these photographs are not my own, merely inspiration from the flickr group based on the premise. I do plan on attempting some of my own, so I will definitely let you know if there are any tricks or struggles (of which I’m sure there will be!) to lining them up.


  11. Todd permalink
    January 29, 2010 5:27 pm

    Great idea!

  12. erinmoxam permalink
    January 29, 2010 6:25 pm

    Oh, I love it. What wonderful and romantic thing to do.

  13. January 29, 2010 6:52 pm

    Fantastic! The sixth one blends in so well it took a moment for my brain to digest it.

  14. London Caller permalink
    January 29, 2010 7:18 pm

    Kinda deja vu…

    Ah! I remember now. It’s like the Smooth Radio ads…


    • Pillar Box Post permalink*
      January 29, 2010 9:34 pm

      Oh yah, I thought those were good! I think (and I emphasize the word think, before I start any scandalous rumours) that there was a flickr type group that had started doing those…which then was translated into an ad campaign. But dont’ quote me on that!

  15. January 29, 2010 7:30 pm

    awesome, actually holding up the old pics instead of going Photoshop makes it so much more interesting to see.

    • Pillar Box Post permalink*
      January 29, 2010 9:35 pm

      I agree! I definitely prefer the hand and the actual photo in the shot! If it lines up with something (like an old wheel with a new car) all the better!

  16. January 29, 2010 7:31 pm


  17. January 29, 2010 7:46 pm

    Love this kinda stuff. Reminds me of this. It’s evolution baby!

    • Pillar Box Post permalink*
      January 29, 2010 9:37 pm

      Wow, thats really powerful stuff. I’m sure most areas we live/walk/work have had sad and happy events…but putting it into an image really hits home. Thanks for sharing!

  18. January 29, 2010 8:06 pm

    Wow this is such a great idea for a post! I love how you fit all those old pictures into current scenes. I’m just getting into photography so stuff like this is great inspiration!

    • Pillar Box Post permalink*
      January 29, 2010 9:38 pm

      Hi Sandy,

      Sadly these photos are not my own work, just a flickr group of inspiration for a technique that I find fascinating. It’s always great to find the sort of style you would like to accomplish so that you have a bit of focus and a ‘goal’ to work towards…even if you end of deviating from that course. Good luck with the photography!


  19. leavemehere permalink
    January 29, 2010 8:20 pm

    haha, awesome!

  20. January 29, 2010 8:21 pm

    Very Nicely done. Inspires me to try the same technique on Old Mumbai (Bombay) photos I have.

    • Pillar Box Post permalink*
      January 29, 2010 9:40 pm

      That would be fantastic! I’d love to see them if you get around to it…


  21. January 29, 2010 8:41 pm

    Nicely done!

  22. January 29, 2010 9:01 pm

    That’s so cool!

  23. January 29, 2010 9:12 pm

    “Gonna take a Sentimental Journey,
    Gonna set my heart at ease.
    Gonna make a Sentimental Journey,
    to renew old memories…”

    You have given me an idea. Hold up a photo of the once woodland paradise, in front of a WalMart.

  24. January 29, 2010 9:13 pm

    so good

  25. January 29, 2010 10:00 pm

    I’m literally blown away. Nice work!

  26. January 29, 2010 10:30 pm

    it’s fun and beatiful !

  27. Sabra Smith permalink
    January 29, 2010 11:03 pm

    The comments on this post seem to prove that old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words”, eh? You mentioned the flickr group, yet people are giving you all sorts of props for pics you didn’t take! They must be so captivated by the pics that they are not really taking in your words!

    I hope that people will click through to the entire gallery because my favorites are the turn of the century lady out walking her bunny rabbit on a leash in a park complete with man-on-horse war memorial and the one with the young boy setting off a rocket with the arch of an outdoor theatre shell in the background (fascinating to contract the decorative detailing on it, then and now).

    Thanks for spreading the word about this flickr group. Would be fun to get more people taking photos and contributing to community appreciation of “then” and “now” changes.

    • Pillar Box Post permalink*
      January 29, 2010 11:12 pm

      So true! I put on extra messaging just to be clear that they weren’t my photos, put links to the photographers and the flickr group mention and yet… I guess everyone has been bamboozled. Thanks for reading! I too liked the rocket…there were so many that I liked! I really do want to give this a try, but I’m sure it’s much harder than it looks!

  28. January 30, 2010 12:03 am

    Excellent photos!! Really nice work.

  29. January 30, 2010 12:31 am

    Fantastic collection, i really love it. reminds me of a book about Paris that i have where they have an old shot on one side of the page and the other plate is a modern image of the same shot.

    Love these, thanks.


  30. January 30, 2010 12:46 am

    these are AMAZING! I’d love to do something like this for my grandparents. They would love that. Talk about fantastic work, I’m so impressed.

    You might like my latest blog- check it out and comment if you get the chance!


  31. January 30, 2010 1:16 am

    WOW! That’s all I can say… these pictures were really really good! I loved how I could see the new, but still get a feel for the past. You did an EXCELLENT job with your post!! I will be stopping back again.

  32. January 30, 2010 1:43 am

    Love it!! I am so going to go find some old post cards tomorrow and try this!!

  33. January 30, 2010 2:10 am

    awesome. very well done.

  34. Tornike permalink
    January 30, 2010 2:33 am

    This is just fantastic.

  35. January 30, 2010 2:37 am

    Good work 🙂

  36. January 30, 2010 3:51 am

    this is beautiful! love it! 😀

  37. January 30, 2010 4:33 am

    I can only add the word magnificent – please more!!!!

  38. January 30, 2010 4:48 am

    Nice work. This is something new for me. Very interesting. What inspired you to make art like this?

  39. January 30, 2010 5:51 am

    WOW! Absolutely phenomenal!

  40. abhay permalink
    January 30, 2010 5:58 am

    This is just great… pretty neat work

  41. January 30, 2010 7:03 am

    This is so cool!

  42. January 30, 2010 7:52 am

    wow………………..its’ romantic wonderfull

  43. January 30, 2010 7:55 am

    this is amazing…REALLY. iv always wanted to visit LDN.

  44. January 30, 2010 8:01 am

    very nicely done. excellent.

  45. christa154 permalink
    January 30, 2010 8:04 am

    woah i love this

  46. thedishcompany permalink
    January 30, 2010 9:49 am


  47. January 30, 2010 10:12 am

    very awesome,
    smart post.

  48. January 30, 2010 10:21 am

    so nice and awesome!

  49. ninghero permalink
    January 30, 2010 12:08 pm


  50. narcysm permalink
    January 30, 2010 12:09 pm

    amazing! sure you have a lot of patience while mixed and search all those pictures. Once again im impressed 😀

    • Pillar Box Post permalink*
      January 31, 2010 12:48 pm

      Ooo…patience isn’t one of my strong points, which is why i’m a bit worried about taking on this project. Sadly, I cannot claim credit for these existing beauties. They are from a selection of talented photographers from the flickr group, looking into the past. Definitely worth a look…


  51. martin permalink
    January 30, 2010 12:15 pm

    Wow, cool idea

  52. January 30, 2010 12:38 pm

    Hi there – these photos are amazing. Thanks for posting. I wonder if there are any shots like this of Edinburgh, Scotland. Id love to see them

    • Pillar Box Post permalink*
      January 31, 2010 12:46 pm


      Hmm… I haven’t seen any off the top of my head, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t out there! Failing that, you should have a go and let us see the result! I went to the local library to see about finding some information/photos yesterday but the local studies section wasn’t open…boo. To be continued…


      *NOTE….I just received this link from another reader about a new Edinburgh project that you might be interested in… It’s pretty cool stuff!

  53. January 30, 2010 1:12 pm

    thoroughly enjoyed these. great idea 🙂

  54. January 30, 2010 1:56 pm

    This is awesome : )

  55. January 30, 2010 1:57 pm

    These pic’s are great! What creativity and visual appeal. THANK YOU!


  56. January 30, 2010 2:01 pm

    love this!

  57. January 30, 2010 2:29 pm

    Grea work…so inspiring
    I liked your layout…I wonder if I can share it on my blog:

    all the best,

  58. January 30, 2010 3:00 pm


  59. January 30, 2010 3:47 pm

    Someone here has already said a thousand words to be enough to express my delight over what I see on your photos. So I’ll say only that it is a great project and great work. Really! I love it.

  60. alibabacorp1 permalink
    January 30, 2010 3:58 pm

    Wha,awesome post

    You must like this

  61. January 30, 2010 4:50 pm

    Awesome pictures!

  62. January 30, 2010 5:15 pm

    I have never seen photos like these before. To me these photos are brillant. Very cleverly done and a wonderful way of showing the past in the present. It is like looking back in time. It comes into my mind the idea of taking a picture now of myself or other family members in places we used to visit as a child and match the photo side by side. To see the historical change. Thank you for sharing.

  63. January 30, 2010 5:45 pm

    If I had five thumbs, I would give five thumbs up!

  64. beingisbewildering permalink
    January 30, 2010 5:45 pm

    These are amazing and truly inspiring – looks like its time to dig some old photos out and go location hunting with the digital camera! It’s interesting to see how buildings and locations have changed over time, but what catches you the most is the photos of people: brining the past into the present!

  65. Nikhil Kardale permalink
    January 30, 2010 6:08 pm

    Wonderful idea! Looks great.. in a way this shows the connection between the past and the present!

  66. January 30, 2010 6:34 pm

    WOW!!!! I always try to picture the architecture and scenery around me as is was back in the day. This is so fun! Don’t you wish you could step through the picture into the past? I know, I know…dorky….but fun to think about about! It’s the sci-fi time travel geek in me that appreciates these photos the most. Thanks for posting them! Groovy.

    • Pillar Box Post permalink*
      January 31, 2010 12:44 pm

      I deeeeeeeefinitely would love to step into old surroundings. I think about it a tad more often than I should in fact! How dissapointing that you can’t…next on my to do list is to build a time machine. I’ll keep you posted on its progress.


  67. January 30, 2010 7:17 pm

    This is ridiculously brilliant!

  68. January 30, 2010 8:00 pm

    Very good.

  69. takomura permalink
    January 30, 2010 8:16 pm

    WOW! These are so lovely!

  70. January 30, 2010 8:22 pm

    You did a really great job with those. Must have been tricky to match them up so perfectly. One even had half the old care and half a new one behind the photo. Excellent. 🙂 I take rural exp. photos. I seldom see old postcards or photos but will watch for them now.

    • Pillar Box Post permalink*
      January 31, 2010 12:42 pm

      Hi Laura,

      I have already become much more attuned to spotting old pictures to use, just in the last couple of days. I agree with you that it must be super tricky to line up (probably want makes them so interesting) but I cannot claim credit for these. They come from a variety of photographers in the flickr group, looking in the past! Its definitely worth checking out!


  71. January 30, 2010 8:38 pm

    Great idea and magical photos 🙂

  72. Vishinsky Designs permalink
    January 30, 2010 9:19 pm

    They look great

  73. Nick Smith permalink
    January 30, 2010 10:11 pm

    Genius. Nice to see something different for a change.

  74. January 30, 2010 11:33 pm

    Inspiring and unique idea. Way to go!

  75. January 31, 2010 12:46 am

    Fantastic! Gotta love Flickr

  76. January 31, 2010 12:47 am

    Lovely really.What a simple but creative idea!Great pictures by the way!-

  77. rrivo permalink
    January 31, 2010 5:20 am

    que chidas fotos!!!!!

  78. January 31, 2010 5:33 am

    These pictures are so cool… i love how you can see how much times have changed through the then and now. Great work!

  79. January 31, 2010 6:34 am

    1. Wow.

    2. No, seriously. WOW!

    3. I loved this. I am such a sucker for mementos and capturing moments and reflecting/looking back {my dorky lovefest of a blog will tell you that}, so this is right up my alley. Super glad to have stumbled upon this.

  80. January 31, 2010 8:22 am

    oh nice..thanks for sharing..

  81. January 31, 2010 12:25 pm

    i like the one with a lady in black clothes sitting ❤

  82. January 31, 2010 12:34 pm

    These are great 🙂 I love old photographs.

    You might be interested in these two web links that I have on favourites which are much in the vein:

    • Pillar Box Post permalink*
      January 31, 2010 12:40 pm


      Thanks very much for those two links, very relevent and interesting. I was a bit sad to see the photos from refotographie…that large pedestrian lane is so much prettier than the tramline!!


  83. January 31, 2010 12:44 pm

    Lovely pictures. You might want to know that a project in Edinburgh is combining GPS and historical maps in an iPhone app, so you can walk through town and see where you would have been a hundred and fifty years ago. Its called Walking Through Time

    • Pillar Box Post permalink*
      January 31, 2010 12:52 pm

      Wow, thats fabulous! Thanks a lot for sharing that…now I just have to get up to Edinburgh. A “sacrifice” I’m willing to make…


  84. January 31, 2010 1:35 pm

    Fabulous idea & fascinating photographies! I am deeply impressed.

    Greetings from Austria/Europe

    Michael / LitterART

  85. January 31, 2010 3:18 pm

    Very cool idea, I love it! I’ll have to try it myself!

  86. January 31, 2010 3:36 pm

    that is reallie neat, some of the pictures look as if they haven’t changed much from the past.

  87. January 31, 2010 5:39 pm

    what an awesome idea (:

  88. January 31, 2010 6:17 pm

    This is really exciting! I’ve never seen anything like this before. I spent the last week in Belgium and found a photo album of vacation photos from a family’s road trip around Europe in the 1940’s, just after WW2. I think I’ve just figured out how to use them, thanks to you 🙂

  89. Patricia Juarez permalink
    January 31, 2010 6:22 pm

    this is a piece of ART !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    beautiful, interesting, brillant

  90. clarissajanephotography permalink
    January 31, 2010 6:27 pm

    Great photos!
    i love the 7th photo


  91. Madalena permalink
    January 31, 2010 6:54 pm

    This is so cool!

  92. January 31, 2010 7:43 pm

    Fantastic Idea!

  93. fuifduif permalink
    January 31, 2010 7:58 pm

    Ahh, these pics are great!

  94. January 31, 2010 10:14 pm

    WOW! What a great idea. Loved the cars between the scenes. Great group, terrific idea. Will shar it at my blog.

    Congratullations, Nik.

  95. Tasha permalink
    January 31, 2010 11:13 pm

    this post is amazing. I love love love it!!!!!

    I look forward to seeing many more of these types of creative posts 🙂

    check out my blog if you wish:



  96. nia permalink
    January 31, 2010 11:49 pm

    cool!! really amazing photographs! 🙂

  97. February 1, 2010 12:16 am

    Those pictures are amazing! I love them!

  98. February 1, 2010 12:22 am

    It is so neat to see something new! I have never thought of holding an old photo at a current sight. Really enjoyed your post! Wondering how I could apply this concept to gardening?

  99. February 1, 2010 12:49 am

    That is unbelievably cool! I love them.

  100. February 1, 2010 1:30 am

    This is fantastic and so creative.
    It’s amazing how fast the world has changed.

  101. February 1, 2010 7:31 am

    I loved the clarity of these pictures. can anyone tell me how did you do that!!

  102. February 1, 2010 10:19 pm

    Thanks. I like that style of photography, combining different eras. Really gets the viewer thinking and engaged which is what you want any photo to do.

  103. February 2, 2010 9:42 am

    cool! 🙂

  104. February 3, 2010 6:15 am

    Amazing work ! most liked. congratulate !!

  105. February 6, 2010 5:37 pm

    Ha ha that is funny and interesting. Love it!

  106. July 27, 2010 7:35 am

    10/10 🙂


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