This one is for Malgo (emka) whose then and now shot from yesterday inspired me to post this.
In 1976, two years before I was born and one year before he died, my grandfather took my grandmother on a trip to Eastern Europe with stops in Finland and in St. Petersburg. He knew he was dying, and this was to be their last big trip. My grandfather - who I never met - was an avid photographer and we still have most of the shots he took while in Europe. There is one - the workshop photo here - that became very special to my mother (his daughter); a man walking down a street in downtown Helsinki holding balloons. My mother sees meaning in it - a joyful picture from a man at the end of his life.
When my wife and I first planned to visit Helsinki in 2011, I made it my mission to track down this spot and recreate the photo. I was able to find it using a very slight street sign visible on one of the buildings along with the wonder that is Google Earth. We managed to get there - it turned out it was only a block away from the famous Helsinki Cathedral, a portion of which is actually visible in both images - and get as close to a recreation as was possible. Of course my grandfather's photo is much better, full of life and happiness while in mine the street is mostly empty but for a mother and daughter crossing, but I'm afraid I didn't have the time or resources to arrange balloons for my shot! Still, it was nice to be able to present this shot, framed with my grandfather's, to my mother that following Christmas.
Larger version of my grandfather's photo on Flickr, here.
Larger version of my version on Flickr, here.
Version with my wife and I standing in that intersection on Flickr, here.
The EXIF data listed is from my grandfather's shot.
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tyro (20014) 2014-07-08 7:27
This is the perfect response to Malgo's recent "dual image" from Vienna. And it reminds me of something that the BBC here were trying to promote a few years ago - something called "re-photography", the idea being that you could look at archive photographs taken around Britain as long ago as around 1880 and try to take a photograph now from exactly the same viewpoint and in the same direction and so be able to compare how the landscape and buildings had changed.
But this is a much more personal form of re-photography and so nice that you and your wife were actually able to track down exactly the same spot from where your maternal grandfather took his original picture.
I agree with you - your grandfather's picture is better than yours! But that, of course, is because it is so much more full of life and colour, largely due to the two men carrying brightly coloured balloons but also because there are more people about. Your photograph reminds me a bit of old postcards of towns in which the photo had been taken with a pinhole camera with enormously long exposure so that the streets appeared devoid of all life - a typical postcard like that was once sold with the title "Aberdeen on a Charity Day" - the general belief in those days being that Aberdonians were mean people - which, of course, they are not: at least, no meaner than anybody else.
A most interesting pair of photographs and a perfect upload for TE!
P.S. You must have lots of old photographs in your possession as it would appear that both of your grandfathers were keen photographers. If I remember correctly, it was your paternal grandfather who took all of those wonderful photographs in Greenland near the end of World War II.
COSTANTINO (54419) 2014-07-08 8:24
Hello my dear friend
every shot in Te has its personal story
I red carefully your notes and I
understood that everybody of us must
have a personal experience from personal
a most interesting pair of photos
thanks for shari g them with us
holmertz (40055) 2014-07-08 8:44
It's great if Malgo managaed to start a new trend. Pictures like these are very interesting. There don't seem to have been any major changes in this area of Helsinki in 35 years, probably people's clothes have changed more, but this is still an important document. But I have to say that these streets look just as boring as some in downtown Stockholm that were "modernized" in the 60's and 70's.
emka (77336) 2014-07-08 9:21
Hi Andrew, How nice , first of all thank you very much for a dedication. I am glad that on this occasion you show us nice photos with the poignant story related to it. It has not changed so much. I wonder what was on the corner, maybe cinema? In Warsaw many cinemas were converted into shops or demolished, hiving place for modern multiplexes, with popcorn. So I almost do not go to the cinema.
As to my idea, I used it already on TE. Maybe you will be interested in the photos titled 26 years later here. They were also very personal to me, like yours here. And when my son was in Vienna with his daughter he asked me to send him the photo from 1979, he wanted the same shot with his daughter as I had with him as kid.
Warm regrads Malgo
jcpix (13552) 2014-07-08 19:24
Hard to believe this hasn't received more feedback!? A fine dedication to Malgo's concept, and one which carries quite a personal touch. Even under a relatively minimal scene, the story behind the photo far outweighs any other aspect and endears the viewing audience. Seeing this has made me reflect upon my grandfather and his travels throughout Europe as a soldier during WWII...I wonder if perhaps I had ever been in the same locations and would love to know how much different they are today.
A thought provoking and sentimental side by side you've put together here. Thanks for sharing that personal account and the additional WS pictures. Enjoy the rest of your evening.
I sincerely appreciated your notes today, as I feel the same way...you've been one that I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know.....so don't stay away for large chunks of time. :)
jhm (138214) 2014-07-09 4:01
1976 two year before you was born got we the most hot summer in more than hundred year in Belgium, my son is born in 1962, i am an old man now!
A pity that you not has known, your grandfather, these people can you a lot learn with a soft voice.
Your both picture are excellent taken and give a good image of the street en intersection.
Composition and presentation are pleasant to look at.
Very well done, TFS.
macjake (55520) 2014-07-09 6:17
as John has already pointed out, this is a very personal photograph, a very personal and touching human interest type of story.
what can i say Andrew? its fantastic.
a heart warming story about your Grandfather is the best way to start my day.
superb TE post
timecapturer (47980) 2014-07-10 3:29
a fascinating shot and one that is all the more beautiful when reading your heartfelt story. Places change but emotions do not and this image carries that message so powerfully. So glad you shared this precious image and its meaning with us. Having a tangible link with members of our families we never met is something quite special and one that I fully empathise with.
Regards - B.
ktanska (24624) 2014-07-11 12:11
What a nice surprise to see such pair of photos from Helsinki. No famous landmarks visible, so you did good detective job to find the location. Funny, I remember Angelika movie, although only from TV.
willperrett (6712) 2014-07-19 10:00
What an interesting couple of shots, made all the more so by your detailed note. I'm interested in the fact that a new tramline has been introduced since 1976. How sensible. In England, we've grubbed up nearly all the old tramlines; although I believe Manchester and Newcastle have "seen the light" and put in new trams. I'm now inspired to upload a "then and now" pair of images that I made some 30 years apart in Kerkyra...