About this Blog
I'm Andrew from Vancouver, Canada, and this is my blog.
Ever since I could read then I've spent my time devouring any history book I could lay my hands on. From the inferno of Stalingrad to the field of Cannae, the salons of Paris to the stoa in Athens, history fired my imagination. I was most captivated by Gibbon's, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and imagined that I too might one day spend a night under the stars amongst the ruins of the Roman forum, contemplating the passage of time and the impermanence of greatness.
To me there is no better way to make history come alive than to go and see the places where history happened. Inspired by Gibbon, I seek out moments like his night spent in the Roman forum. I love to sit in a pub in London's east end and read about the city's dreadful 19th Century slums, or sit in a German bunker overlooking Omaha Beach and read about the moment the doors dropped of the first landing craft on June 6, 1944.
Getting people interested in history can be like rolling a boulder up a hill. For many, the subject conjures images of frightful high school teachers demanding the rote memorization of names, dates and treaties. The reality, of course, is vastly different. History is the collected stories of people with their own lives, concerns and dreams, who were once every bit as real as we are. One day people will be looking at photos of downtown Vancouver today with the same detached curiosity we have when looking at photos of the city's early days. They'll marvel at our strange clothes, vehicles and architecture, our relative poverty (or wealth?). The best way to remind people of this reality is through the power of photography, which gives us the unparalleled ability to see a century and a half and more into the past.
That's the aim of this project: to use photography to connect history to a physical place, using the then and now technique to give people an exciting new way to look at their otherwise mundane everyday surroundings.
With the recent move to digitize public photography archives worldwide, it is now possible to give the then and now treatment to practically every city and town around the globe. As such I hope to continue rapidly expanding this project in the months and years to come so that one day On This Spot will be a comprehsneive go-to resource for then and now photography from all over the world. This, I hope, will fire the imaginations of young people, encouraging them to learn more about the history surrounding them. In a more general way I'd like to satisfy the curiousity common to all humans to understand where they came from and how their world has changed and continues to change.
Thanks for visiting and I hope you enjoyed the project!