Photos of Modern Day Locations Blended with Shots of Major Historical Events


In 2010, photographer Seth Taras created a series of photographs for a worldwide marketing campaign for the History Channel with the message “Know Where You Stand.” The photographer shot photos at locations around the world where major historical events happened, and then blended old photos showing those events from the same perspective. It’s the same “then and now” concept that has become quite popular over the past few years.

The photograph above shows a field in Lakehurst, New Jersey where the Hindenberg disaster occurred back on Thursday, May 6, 1937. The German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire and crashed to the ground as it was attempting to dock, killing 36 people and ending the airship era.

The fall of the Berlin wall in 1989:


Adolf Hitler touring Paris and standing in front of the Eiffel Tower in 1940:


Allied soldiers rushing the beach at Normandy in June 1944:


You can find higher-resolution versions of all of these advertisements over on Taras’ blog.

If you enjoy then-and-now photographs, be sure to check out Dutch historian Jo Teeuwisse’s work done in Amsterdam and France. Last year we also shared an interesting project with then-and-now photos of an abandoned high school in Detroit, Michigan.

Image credits: Photographs by Seth Taras/The History Channel

  • Neoracer Xox


  • NeoplasmSix

    It’s a shame he didn’t finish the job properly

  • Redstart


  • Marklivesinla

    Certainly a darn sight more creative than your terse, vacuous and unconstructive critique.

  • Duke Shin

    ripoff of some other project, but poorly executed.

  • IHP

    did not see your name there………..putz

  • Redstart

    Fair enough…The compositions are mediocre. The idea is not an original one. Granted not all ideas in photography are intended to be original. But, if you’re going to go this route, you had better make it stand out. Dumping historical photos into your own in this manner doesn’t automatically get you artistic merit. So, in short: Uncreative.

  • Neoracer Xox

    No your wrong, hes a GENIUS!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jared Monkman

    These are great!

  • Jared Monkman

    Instead of just blandly stating that it’s uncreative, how about a little reasoning behind your critique?

  • Nathan Blaney

    Although this sort of thing has been done quite a bit, I find these much more interesting than most for some reason.

  • RKE959


  • Paul Sutton

    What a fantastic idea! A really, really great project. And one which can be redone to contemporary standards over and over again.

    How often I’ve stood on a beach and tried to imagine the way it looked in bygone eras, perhaps when wild animals roamed the slopes nearby, when the first settlers landed, and if and when wars had been fought on those shores. What amazing stories places could tell if only they could speak.

    This project transcends the need for the viewer to painstakingly imagine the details, by providing a vivid glimpse into the past. It gives a voice to time and space, and in so doing speaks to us, the present generations.

    Consequently, I find the images profoundly insightful, and remarkably emotional.

  • Juan Ozuna

    Those who can, do. Those who can’t make snide comments on photography blogs from the comfort of their office chairs.

  • The Godfather

    Redstart = Prick

  • lidocaineus

    He just did.

  • shai

    b o r i n g!!!

  • MarkLivesInLA

    I’m not sure you can go too hard on the composition as they are based on the original photographs.

    While the technique may not be original, that’s not the sole basis for determining it’s creative worth any more than “people have already painted with blue, so why bother ever doing it again.” Instead of treating it as a gimmick, I think each of these images, individually, can be judged for how powerful the contradiction of the old and new content really seems. This is particularly evident in the image of the young lovers in Paris, leisurely enjoying the tranquility of the scene, versus Hilter who stands there, not as a lover, but as a conqueror (and who is almost the quintessential embodiment of the opposite of love). It’s not the mere technique that is important here but this very juxtaposition that makes it interesting. Same could be said with the beach scene. The WWII transparency of the sacrifice made on that beach looms as a ghost-like reminder of all that had to happen for people to so obliviously enjoy a day on that beach in freedom.

    You certainly don’t have to love it. That’s for sure. But I for one would argue that it is creative. And took considerable effort, to boot.

  • Carin Basson

    There’s something really striking about these images, particularly the Hindenburg and Normandy ones. I think it’s the clash of the horrific with the tranquil – I can just imaging the incredibly loud mayhem in those historic images, and they’re juxtaposed with images of relative peace.

  • IWSYFPhoto

    I think these are wonderful.
    I love seeing the difference when looking at old town photos and seeing what was there to what is there now, hopefully seeing a better change.
    In my town where I live, there is a lot of old town photos and I get a kick out of seeing the old businesses that have come and gone but the buildings have stayed. Makes me wonder how the culture and lifestyle was back then.
    A good example is an old storefront, empty at present, but used to be a 5 & dime, can tell because the old mosaic tile walkway is still there.

    As for “Redstart” you have to look beyond the composition on this since a limiting factor was using the historical photo as a guideline. May not be 100% original or creative, but very nice.

    At least it wasn’t an Instagram collage of historical places with a then and now theme.

  • Redstart

    Oh, that’s right. We need to hear the full artist statement to fully appreciate the photos. Ugh…

    Let the work speak for itself. Seems basic enough with these stereotypical scenes that were chosen…I don’t need to hear the explanations for who and why, I understand the intent. True, the original photo will dictate the framing but that’s no excuse for the somewhat lazy composition within. So there’s a guy on his cell phone in Berlin and a woman walking her dog in Jersey. Ok?

    I’ve always found the original images to be much more compelling on their own. Not crapping on anybody or being snide. Just not a fan of the idea or the result and that’s my opinion. And while I can appreciate what Seth was going for here, I’m not feeling it. And I gave it a chance several times…

  • marklivesinla

    Redstart, not making an artist’s statement here. This is a discussion thread and you started the thread. So don’t be surprised if people challenge you on what you have to say. That’s the purpose of the thread, I’m sure you would concede. I presume you didn’t type ‘uncreative’ just because you felt we needed to know your opinion, did you? Can you explain what you mean by ‘lazy composition’. I’m not saying it’s highly calculated (though beach-goers surrounded by troops works in my books), but without a breath of facetiousness, I’d love to know what you think would make this work better. Certainly no reason to think it’s at its best, after all.

  • Redstart

    Oh, I was just playing Internet with the initial comment. ;)

    Anyways…since you’re taking the time to respond I guess I should too. I say lazy because he relied too much on the original images and put little effort in on his end. Seems too posed and little emotion in his own subjects to connect with the viewer. Perhaps it reaches other people, but personally I’m not feeling it. Comes off looking rather silly and I find the whole thing a bit cliche (Godwin’s Law right out of the gate).

    I don’t think there is a good way to pull this off, so I have little to suggest in the manner of improving. The few surviving images from Omaha Beach are enough for me. Or the broadcast from the Hindenburg crash…or Reagan’s Berlin Wall speech. This just isn’t cutting it.

    The Detroit school photo project seems more organized, interesting, and thought provoking. Perhaps it’s the candid nature of the majority of the images, something we can all relate to as every one of us sat in a gym, library, classwork, or lecture hall.

  • Brad Hagen

    Nicely done. Puts things in perspective…

  • silverfox

    what art to some might not be art to others. I don’t understand the need to be so negative about it though. why not just say hey, why don’t you try doing something like this or like that, why do so negative about it? that doesn’t promote any positive solutions, it just pushes around bad air and is completely counterproductive. art is supposed to bring peoples together with expressions from individuals and allows others to see things from a different point of view, but when it becomes negative like this it defeats the entire purpose. try and be a little more mature about how you let someone know what you think. after all, someone liked it enough to put it on Digg, wheres yours? I’m not trying to start an argument, but have a little consideration. if you don’t like it when people talk to you like that, why do it? theres absolutely no reason to act this way. why not just give suggestions to try something else or give them some positive direction instead of burning them for efforts when they were doing something that brings them happiness. why be negative when you could be productive and possibly help someone create something even better. look at this situations as a chance to help someone instead of being rude for no reason, it’s easier to be positive any way.


    wow funtastic ! memories is never dies

  • Henri

    Redstart, you are loser and you know that. I am sure even the most primitive form of planetary life has more intelligence than you do.

  • Jim

    Really clever…stops to make you think and appreciate the moment you are in right now.

  • German

    These images may have been posted in 2010 but they were most definitely shot in 2003. The “know where you stand” campaign came from a small Los Angeles based advertising agency with the unfortunate name “Ground Zero.” (The agency was founded years before you-know what and has since gone out of business.) The guy wearing the blue sweater in the Paris image is Jeff Lable, who then was the art director, who came up with this idea. I think he is a film director now.

    I know this because at that time I sat across from him as a lowly intern. I had nothing to do with the creation of this campaign but wanted to set the record straight.

  • Jonas N

    Wow! The one with Hitler almost feel ghostly and a bit chilling.

  • Thomas Casey

    Great idea, very thought provoking.

  • Joseph

    No, I don’t know “You-know-what”. Trinity? Hiroshima? Nagasaki?
    Perhaps the art in this post is more important to our sense of perspective than you realize.

  • YOLO

    It’s still cool though, you can’t deny that…

  • Tudor Constantin

    Since when is History Channel about actual history and not about Pawn Stars?