Then and Now

Toronto 1977-2007

Toronto 1977-2007

Photographer Damon Schreiber posted a fascinating series of photographs a few years ago titled Toronto 1977 – 2007. Perhaps the title gives away the premise: after discovering online a set of photographs taken in Toronto in 1977, Schreiber set out to photograph the same locations again in the present day (then 2007).

He took great care to find not just the same location but the same camera angles and even the same subjects. If a bus happened to be pulling away when the shutter clicked 30 years ago, the retake will capture a new bus in the same place. This brings striking clarity to the real changes that three decades have brought to the city.

What I found absolutely fascinating was that the pairs show neither a steady decline throughout the city nor a constant improvement toward sleek modernity. Some locations got better, some got worse. Some sidewalks became crumbled and chipped while others were replaced with beautiful brick and shrubbery. We see buildings erected and torn down. New signs are installed while others have stayed exactly where they were placed half a lifetime ago.

The end result is a wonderfully comforting sense that the dilapidated sections of our cities today will be vibrant and clean in another few decades, even if the new brickwork we see workers laying down today may have degraded.

One thought on “Then and Now

  1. Hey thanks, Ben! I like your description. It’s true: the city hasn’t declined. The trees have even grown taller. And I learned that the story you tell depends so much on exactly when you click the shutter.

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