Support Long-term Thinking
Support Long-term Thinking

Re-photography

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on July 10th, 02007

Muir Glacier Photograph taken 1941Muir Glacier Photograph taken 2004
Muir Glacier as seen on August 13, 1941 (left) and August 31, 2004 (right).

Photography has now been around long enough that re-photography of certain sites can show over a century of change. Recent photographs depicting glacier retreat, like the ones above, have become the canary in the mineshaft of climate change discussion. Just as interesting to me are ones that show almost no change at all.

Some of the better re-photo web sites I have come across:

More recently, GPS enabled cameras, and publicly shared mapping tools like Google Earth have made the ability of re-locating photograph sites even easier.

We have seen time lapse movies made of photographs that take place over months and years, but it will be interesting to see some that take place over decades and centuries. You can see this to some extent now with David Rumsey’s historical maps on Google Earth and the time-slider.

Also interesting is that many libraries and archives are making historical photos available on the web, so the opportunties for all of us to do re-photography projects are growing daily.