Where I Am Now
Where I Am Going
In June I plan on moving through the Low Countries and Western Germany. In that time I plan on doing then and now photo essays of battlefields at Dieppe, Dunkirk, Ypres, Arnhem, and throughout the Netherlands. I'd also like to cover the cities of Brussels, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Hamburg and Groningen. I'd also like to visit some World UNESCO heritage sites, which I will eventually get around to writing about. This schedule is very flexible and I'm open to visiting other places if the opportunity arises.
If you like the work I do here and would like to help me give your city or town the Then and Now treatment, consider offering me a couch to sleep on! I'm doing this trip on a shoe-string budget and am not making any money from ad revenue on this site so costs can add up quickly and any night not spent in a hostel is massively appreciated.
I'm fun, easy-going, respectful and hygenic. And as a Canadian I'd love a chance to meet more people while traveling! If you're interested in putting me up, please get in touch!
First of all I'd like to thank you for visiting my website. This project is a labour of love and it I'm very excited you are taking an interest in it.
Then and Now photos make the past come alive, reminding us that history is far more than a never-ending list of dates and names. Rather it is the collected stories of the people who came before us—our ancestors—who lived in the same places as us, walked the same streets, and had lives, dreams and problems every bit as real as our own.
My aim in this project is to allow people everywhere see into the past of the places they live and give them the chance to look at their otherwise routine surroundings in an exciting and eye-opening new light. I eventually hope to expand this website to include much of the world. Through this project we can promote interest in and the study of history everywhere.
I am embarking on this project through a self-funded backpacking trip around the world, starting in the U.K. Of course it is impossible for me to go everywhere! Virtually every city, town and village in many parts of the world has an online database of historic photos. This task is far too large for one person.
This is where you come in.
If you would like to see Then and Now photos taken of your city, consider taking your own photos and submitting them! You don't have to be an expert photographer. All you need is a camera, a smart phone and some basic computer knowledge. It's a lot of fun, like a scavenger hunt that requires some detective work. It's also a fantastic way to spend a sunny afternoon or two exploring the history of your home! It'll work like this:
- Contact me via email, Facebook or Twitter to let me know what city, town or village you are interested in photographing and when you are able to do it.
- I'll conduct the archival research for you, putting together a set of 40-60 historic photos in places that are easily found. Then I'll plot them on a Google Map for you like this one I put together for London. The pins on the map will include the photo captions and any hints or tips I can think of to make finding the right spot easier.
- I'll put them in a Google Drive folder and email you the contents, along with a link to the map. I'll also send you a small tip sheet on how to get the best perspective for your photos. Download the photos onto your smart phone, access the map then you're all set! Get out there and take some photos!
- Once you have taken the photos you can upload them to a Google Drive folder and send them to me as a complete set (don't worry this is quite straightforward). I'll edit them together and create a new photo web page for your city. I'll put your name at the top and credit you in whatever fashion you desire.
That's it! If you need any technical or photographic assistance at all I am more than happy to walk you through it. It doesn't matter where you live in the world or how big or small your city or town is, just so long as there is a digitized online photo archives for your city. Thanks to the tireless work of thousands of archivists around the world the list of places with these valuable online resources grows every day.
Currently this is a mostly non-profit project only in its infancy, but I believe it has massive potential, not only as a way to connect people with the history that surrounds them, but as a teaching aid in schools and a way to promote historical tourism. As far as I can determine nothing like it has ever been done before. By contributing photos you can take part in a project that is proving to be hugely popular only a few short months after launch. Take a look at the Press Page!
Volunteered cities so far
Though I have not received any submission photo sets yet I have received many messages from people around the world interested in taking Then and Now photos in their own cities. I've marked them out on the map below. If you see a city on here expect to see it featured on On This Spot soon as I work to rapidly expand the site in the months ahead! If you already see your city on the map and want to photograph it, don't worry! There is so much material available we can continue adding more pages, eventually creating individual pages for individual neighbourhoods, like I did with Vancouver.
Red markers denote cities volunteered so far.
Blue markers denote cities already completed.
If you don't have the time or interest in taking photos yourself, you could also donate. The money raised here will help fund my day-to-day living costs and allow me to expand and improve this project in the months ahead. Every Dollar, Pound, Euro or Won is massively appreciated!
Join the Project
As far as I am aware this project is the first of its kind to focus on Then and Now photography around the world. I am hugely excited to continue expanding the site so that eventually it includes cities, towns and battlefields from across the globe, giving people everywhere the opportunity to better appreciate the history that surrounds them.
You can be a part of this project too! If you would like to see your own city given the Then and Now treatment simply let me know! I'll do all the research, mapping, photo editing and web design for you. All you have to do is get out there and take photos! It's a neat way to learn about the history of the place you live and a fantastic way to spend an afternoon getting out and exploring your hometown!
If you are interested go to the Get Involved page for more information.
On This Spot is a labour of love borne out of my love of history. These pages take a tremendous amount of work to put together and backpacking through Europe while developing the project is very challenging. If you like what you have seen here and would like to see the site continue to expand consider donating! The money will help give me the means to visit the remaining battlefields and cities on my itinerary in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany while helping other people put together Then and Now photo essays for their own cities. Any small donation is massively appreciated!