I'm now in:
Bath, England
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Help Keep On This Spot Going

A somewhat dorky photo of me covering the Royal Canadian Navy's Centennial when I worked for the Victoria News.

On This Spot Blog is a non-profit enterprise run by me, Andrew. It is aimed at promoting awareness of and interest in history. I do this through the creation of high-quality Then and Now photo essays. This site is purely a labour of love and I am forgoing advertising revenues in order to provide people with the best viewing experience.

If you enjoyed my work and would like to see more of it consider donating! I'm living on a shoe string budget while I backpack through the U.K. visiting cities to make photo essays. All of my expenses are being paid out of pocket and every pound and penny donated would be hugely helpful in allowing me to extend my trip and help other people create their own Then and Now photo essays. The 750 Pound sum is what I figure will be necessary to cover the remaining cities in my UK itinerary, as well as to spend time helping people put together their own Then and Now essays which you can learn more about here.

You can donate by following the link to my Fundrazr page below. Thanks again for your time and a massive thank you for any donations!

Though only launched in December 2014, On This Spot has already attracted some media attention!

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Are You and What is On This Spot?

My name is Andrew Farris, and I'm a history buff from Vancouver, Canada. I've always been passionate about history—some of my first memories are of reading books about the Second World War (for the pictures probably). I've always dreamed of finding a new and exciting way to share my interest with the people around me, and through working hard to develop skills like web design, writing and photography, I hoped I would find a way.

Well it seems I've finally stumbled upon one!

In December 2013 I visited Nagasaki, Japan, while backpacking through North-East Asia. I found it hard to reconcile the devastation I saw in the pictures from 1945 with the beautiful and vibrant metropolis that stands there today. I began recreating the old photos taken after the atomic bombings from the same perspective today and found the results to be electrifying. The Then and Now photos made history come alive.

When I came home shortly after I took Then and Now photos in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia and put the results on my new travel-history blog On This Spot. The result has been a runaway success! People love Then and Now photos and the interest has surpassed my wildest expectations, with various appearances in media and hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Why should I care about your photos?

I think one of the most exciting things about this project is all the different meanings people take away from the photos. Some of the commenters lament the grand old Victorian buildings now derelict, or celebrate the slums that have been cleared and replaced with sleek office buildings. Some will see the streets they or their parents walked in their childhoods and be taken back to a time that is made to feel so physically close through the photographs.

Men at work replacing street car lines in downtown Vancouver.

I personally am drawn to the human stories. I love to study the individuals in the photos (I try to find photos with people in them). I wonder about their lives, who they were, what their problems might be or what kind of day they were having. I see these photos as a way to connect us to those who walked the same streets as us. They are a jarring and fascinating reminder that all human history happened somewhere and that somewhere can be visited today. They're a powerful reminder that history is more than just a snore-inducing list of dates and names.

As far as I can tell no website dedicated to high-quality Then and Now photography covering multiple cities exists. Mine is the first of its kind. This has made me extremely excited to break this new ground and work studiously to seize the massive potential that exists in this field. Through helping people create and submit their own Then and Now photo essays, I hope that this site can be expanded to include virtually every city on earth. I just need a little time to get this project out of the gate.

Why should I give you money?

I love doing this. Backpacking the world to learn about history has been something I've wanted to do since as long as I can remember, and to be finally doing it is quite literally a dream come true.

The problem is that making these Then and Now photo essays takes a tremendous amount of work. While most North Americans who backpack through Europe spend a month or several flitting around various European capitals, I have spent the bulk of my time in this beautiful country in front of a computer. Many hours are spent researching history, digging through online archives, studying maps, photo editing, web designing and looking for Cloud Wifi hot spots. The photography is the fun part! I've been focusing on this to the point where developing this website has practically become a full-time job. A wonderful job mind you, but a job none the less, and one I am doing for free.

I have decided to try doing without ads on the website to give viewers the best possible experience. Some few selected photos are available for sale, and this is a small source of income, but on the whole this website is a volunteer endeavour.

As such I have had to be very thrifty with my money while traveling. But despite my best efforts it is impossible to make the United Kingdom a cheap country. 7£ a night hostels, Megabus tickets and Sainsbury's microwave ready meals can only get me so far.

I would love to continue making this site and expanding the number of UK cities available and giving other people the means to create photo essays for their hometowns. Hopefully this is a project that people will refer back to for years to come, especially in classrooms.

For the time being any donations, large or small, would be massively helpful in allowing me to get to the remaining cities I'd like to visit in the UK. Also, and something I am very excited about, the money will give me the time to focus on helping other people put together their own Then and Now essays and create an expanding global network for history buffs everywhere. If you donate to this project you will forever have my gratitude and you will see the direct effects of it on On This Spot as I work tirelessly to continue building it from the ground up.

Thanks for reading and thanks for considering me, and if you do decide to donate a few of your hard-earned Pounds, Dollars, Euros or Yen, THANK YOU SO MUCH!

You can make donations from the Fundrazr page here.

Be sure to follow On This Spot on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to the mailing list to keep updated with the latest Then and Now photo essays and history-travel writing!

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