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Monday, 10 January 2011


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"It would be very interesting to see more sets of photographs of people at many ages,"

There is a fascinating series, "7-up", of
a group of children video'd every seven years
as they grow older..."14-up", "21-up"...etc
done in England, I believe, last I saw they were at "49-up". Well worth the watch...

Best wishes

For anyone who likes the "Then and Now" stuff there is a lot of it available on the Shorpy Website. They scour the Library of Congress archives and then post old photos that they have sharpened and tweaked. If you go there be sure to click on the "View Full Size" link in the photo's caption.

For the "Then and Now" part quite often the readers will then post a photo of what it looks like today in the comments section.

On the lower right side of the page they have different galleries for numerous genres of photos.

WARNING: The Shorpy site is almost as addicting as T.O.P.

There is also a follow-up book to Second View, called Third Views, Second Sights.

More years ago than I like to count I photographed a waterfall http://picasaweb.google.com/jim.bullard/Adirondacks#5560580167287310306 that no longer exists. Photographing the same place now would be impossible as a landslide buried the spot I stood under 30 feet of debris. Things change. The changes are not always for the better.

Yikes! Well I think we have an early winner of this year's Joan Rivers Medal for Architectural Preservation. Wowie.

After getting past the initial revulsion of this sight two thoughts come to mind. First, however grotesque the results might have been there has been some serious money invested in -ahem- re-imagining this building. Creating those enormous window fenestrations from the original small Victorian window bays required some serious load redistribution. This building, like most of its contemporaries, appears to have been designed to rest primarily on its outer walls. So, unlike buildings today that rest on an interior frame, this degree of exterior remodeling required also remodeling the manner in which you were going to manage gravity.

Secondly, long-standing buildings that have undergone generations of rehabbing serve as testaments to urban planning and development taxation policies. Here in Chicago, for example, it's generally been more financially advantageous to raze and replace old buildings. The photographer Richard Nickel ultimately lost his life trying to preserve such buildings with his camera. Preservation of Chicago's relatively few remaining significant architectural artifacts has nearly always required legislative protections (via protective "landmark" designations) and often special incentives for developers.

But many of our older eastern cities like New York and Boston have featured various, often inadvertent, preservation programs via their building codes, their tax incentives/dis-incentives, and even their physical layouts. Many older sections of Boston and Philadelphia, for example, have extremely narrow and fragile streets that don't accommodate contemporary construction gear easily.

Always interestin' stuff.

Holy smokes - the dog toothing is about the only part left that suggests it is the same building. Then again - it really isn't the same building anymore.

A nice example of "before and after" is the "After Notman" project from a few years ago in Montreal. William Notman (1826-1891) was a hugely successful Montreal-based photographer in the mid-late 19th century who produced, among other things, many plates of various street scenes and views around Montreal.

Andrzej Maciejewski took on the task of re-photographing many of those scenes about ten years ago, which was presented as an exhibition at the McCord Museum in Montreal, along with an accompanying book.

One of the nice things about Maciejewski's "rephotographs" is that he was pretty meticulous about setting up in the exact same spot, using lenses with the same field of view, etc. He also shot in B&W, which is a nice touch when comparing old and new, as color would likely have been too dissonant for what he was trying to achieve.

You can read a more about it here, and you can see the McCord's virtual gallery of some of the images here (unfortunately the virtual gallery is Flash-based and pretty convoluted, but hey, it is what it is.)

"It would be very interesting to see more sets of photographs of people at many ages, but it would be best to have one to two dozen pictures rather than just two."

Mike, I'm sure you know that Nick Nixon has long ago granted this whim with his Brown Sisters series. (It's actually his wife and sisters in-law.) He photographed them every year at an annual family gathering. Excerpts from the series at such small sizes loses something online. (What doesn't?) But his original full set of prints is absolutely fascinating.

I saw a picture site once comparing a series of places in Germany before and after the east-west re-unification. I tried searching for it just now but never found it. I hope another reader bookmarked the link, it's worth a look.

If you are interested in examples of "re-photography", you could do worse:
The book "After Notman/Après Notman" is unfortunately out of print. The photgrapher`s website is http://www.klotzekstudio.com/

After The Keymaster and The Gatekeeper of Gozer united on the roof top, allowed Gozer the Destroyer's return to Earth, the top of the building had to be razed when Dr's Venkman, Stantz & Spengler along with sidekick Winston Zeddemore fought to regain order in New York city.

I think, really, this is why the top of the building was removed.

Hi, this link to the Montreal McCord museum might be interesting to you...and your readers of course.

"A century apart, but the same place, and the same time: two photographers, two lenses, but the same goal.

“Urban Life through Two Lenses” invites you into a unique virtual space where two daily realities coexist, raising questions about each other.


Babies at different ages. I did a project on a school covering all the ages from 4 up to 11. Then I thought 'what if I followed the 4 yr olds the whole way through until they leave at 11 for big school.
So each year for 7 years I've gone back and photographed a different activity.

Ken and Mike

As I was reading this post I was reminded of an exhibit at the Art Institute last year of Richard Nickel's work. It was a great show and I hope you got a chance to see it.

Thanks to you and newfound discretionary income, I am contemplating a small print collection of my own. After having seen Mr. Nickel's work I would love for something of his to be a part of my collection. However, as someone with literally no clue how these things work, how can I seek out affordable reprints of his work? Is this even the sort of thing I can expect to find? I am aware of a few books with his photographs, but something a bit larger hanging on my wall would be awfully nice. thanks for helping make the world of art a bit more accessible!

About sequences of people photographs...the artist Larry Rivers was known for annually taking photographs of his daughters' breasts as they were growing up. This is not often spoken of, as it's a little too......curious. I have seen individual shots from the series, but never the entire sequence.


A few years ago, Foma gave away some beautiful large calendars that displayed then and now architectural photographs of Prague every month. Nice photos, and the now photos were (for a North American) surprisingly similar to the then photos. Some trees were larger, there were autos in the now photos, but still, the sameness of the photos was amazing.


Recently the guys at "no caption needed" highlighted the Russian (I think) photographer who merges old photographs and paintings with current photographs of the same scene. His photoblog is here:


They are not strictly before and after photosets and some people may not consider them photographs at all more "illustration" but I find the wartime scenes merged with everyday current scenes quite moving.

All the best


Best Ragards

>>It would be very interesting to see more sets of photographs of people at many ages, but it would be best to have one to two dozen pictures rather than just two. That might make a nice idea for a picture book, if it were well done.<<

Then let me commend to you Nicolas Nixon, "The Brown Sisters" -- one of my favorite photo books.

@ Ken. Have you seen the book:

They All Fall Down by Cahan. Sure looks like an interresting read.


Greetings, Ed

See Stewart Brand's superb book "How Buildings Learn".

A set of photos I'd like to see again are of a father and his daughter in front of a giant piling at Coney Island. The same picture was taken every year for a loooong time and you go from a proud young dad holding a baby to a middle aged woman next to an elderly and stooped man. The piling barely changes. It was in the old Time-Life Photography library. Wish I'd kept it for that reason.

Nicholas Nixon's pictures of his wife and her three sisters also come to mind.

This is my before/after short video straight from Buenos Aires heritage devastation. Made from video and old pictures.

Ken and James both have it right. The Balinese Room in Galveston once featured stars such as Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Duke Ellington, and Mel Torme. It was eventually preserved after being named to the National Historic Register. But ultimately it was remodeled by Hurricane Ike, and all that remains is the NHR sign and a few broken pilings among the waves.

"There are places I'll remember
All my life, though some have changed.
Some forever, not for better;
Some have gone and some remain."

"Similarly, I'm always fascinated/unsatisfied by baby pictures. It would be very interesting to see more sets of photographs of people at many ages, but it would be best to have one to two dozen pictures rather than just two. That might make a nice idea for a picture book, if it were well done".

Nicholas Nixon of course did something like this over 33 years with serial photographs of his wife and her three sisters. I saw the prints at George Eastman House a few years ago; amazing how such a simple idea can be so incredibly poignant.

And the book is still available via Amazon! Just sayin.

@ saagar: There actually are not that many Richard Nickel prints floating about the market place. If you're genuinely interested in buying one I recommend you contact Stephen Daiter Gallery here in Chicago. They usually have some in stock and can likely direct you to other sellers.

On this subject, you should also know that the Art Institute of Chicago here has recently been given the complete Richard Nickel photo archive. I don't know the status of the actual transfer of prints but it will be available for on-request viewing through our Ryerson and Burnham Libraries as soon as the prints are in-house and registered.

But honestly if you want an absolutely drop-dead collection of Nickel's work you simply cannot do better than to get a copy of "The Complete Architecture of Adler & Sullivan". I have never seen a finer publication of b&w architectural photos. It's an incredible volume that is, itself, the culmination of a 40+ year effort lead primarily by the tirelessly determined John Vinci. If you have any interest in this photography at all (as you obviously do) I highly recommend grabbing this volume while you can. It's unlikely to be available in the primary market very long (it was released last fall) and will certainly become a collector's item as it cannot be reprinted.

@ Ed: You betcha I've seen Cahan's "They All Fall Down". Thank you! Also worth a look is Cahan's "Richard Nickel's Chicago: Photographs of a Lost City".

Zane Williams did a book on Madison (Double Take) in 2002. The before photos were all the work of Angus McVicar, who ran a commercial photography studio from the 1920s to the 1950s and often documented new office buildings, theaters, etc., for the owners. Sadly it's out of print and, as of now, not scheduled to be reprinted. Perhaps this will someday come out in a print on demand or an electronic edition.

There's a then-and-now Flickr page for Hong Kong as well: http://www.flickr.com/photos/old-hk/

(note: I'm not affiliated with the owner of that Flickr account.)

John Holland,

Thank you for writing about the Toronto then and now project. I didn't know of it before. Living here in Toronto since 1983 these photographs mean a lot... and the locations are among some of the most walked by.


Thanks so much for the response! I just got back from the bookstore. I had planned on ordering "Richard Nickel's Chicago.." but decided instead to go with your recommendation and ordered "The Complete Architecture.." In any case I have a feeling I will end up with both before too long!

I don't live in the US so viewing the collection at the Art Institute will be difficult, but it will be at the top of my list next time I am in Chicago.

On the topic of prints, I am beginning to see the difficulties of building even a modest collection. There seems to be no easy way to source obscure work, and the easy to find work is awfully expensive. Oh well! Slowly, slowly!

thanks again

Last year I had the luck to watch a TV documentary about Jock Sturges, "La beauté révélée" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1475350/). I did not know him and I found his work really deep and beautiful (in spite of the controversies).
He develops very strong relationships with his models, meeting (and shooting) them regularly all along their lives. Unfortunately, I did not find any book or online portfolio grouping these together, but I wanted to share the info anyway ;)

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