Photographers had to turn detective after being given an assignment by Time Europe.
They were given some of the most memorable pictures of events that have shaped Europe over the past 50 years and told to take new shots from the same vantage points to capture the the scenes today.
The images, ranging from the Berlin Wall, London in the swinging Sixties and Benidorm before and after the influx of tourists, all appeared in Time’s summer special issue, “European Journey: Then & Now”, published on 11 August. They are now on show at an exhibition at the National Theatre in London.
Time Europe editor Eric Pooley, while working at the magazine in the US, published before and after pictures of New York, following the attack on the World Trade Center, viewed from the same point across the Hudson River. He told Press Gazette: “I thought it worked very well. When I came over to Time Europe and was looking at special issues I thought let’s apply that principle to European history.”
A list of possible pictures was drawn up by Pooley and his team. Sometimes they found buildings had been erected where pictures had been taken. One of the original photographers could not remember the exact location of one of his shots.
But Pooley said: “The photographers were wonderful detectives and tracked down the places. Typically, we would give each photographer four or five images from a specific city and let them go out and see what worked.” He likes the “everyday quality” of many of the modern shots taken at places that were once scenes of conflict. “One of the things that should be celebrated about Europe in 2003 is that we have the peace and the freedom to have quiet public spaces where we can go about our own business. “Its not just about physical changes in cities, it’s also about how we’ve changed as people.”
Visitors to the exhibition are able to bid for the prints on show, with all proceeds being donated to Youth at Risk, a charity dedicated to helping young people across Europe.
Europe Then & Now is open to visitors at the National Theatre from 10am to 11pm, everyday except Sundays, and runs until 13 September.
By Jon Slattery