Peter Perry (above) is a photography student whose clever idea for a project has captured people’s imaginations.
On his Instagram feed, Perry takes old photos and holds them up at just the right angle in the location they were taken, achieving a remarkable comparison of past and present.
He also provides some context in the caption, letting the viewer feel the immediacy of history, which so often feels intangible.
Here are some examples of his trick in action:
King Albert I of Belgium visiting Boston in 1919. During WWI, ending just a year before this was taken, he commanded the defense against Germany and personally fought in the trenches alongside his men all while serving as king — something unheard of at the time or even today. His wife Elisabeth (in white) also put herself in harm’s way working as a nurse on the frontlines while his son Leopold III (left) enlisted as a private at the age of 14, seeing action as well. As prince, Albert would often tour Belgium’s working class neighborhoods in disguise to develop an understanding of their living conditions. If you’re into biographical stories, I definitely recommend looking more into this very rare and true leader. #theOGundercoverboss
Charles Ponzi and his wife Rose leaving the Massachusetts State House in 1934 after his appeal to remain in the US was denied. He came to Boston from Italy in 1903 with $2.50 to his name, and after working odd jobs as well as spending time in prison for forgery and smuggling, he set up an investment company in 1919. Realizing he could buy and resell international postage coupons for a profit (since Europe was recovering from WWI, inflation rates were in his favor), he attracted investors by guaranteeing they would receive a 50% return within 45 days or 100% within 90 days. While this was completely legal, what his clients didn’t know was that their money was being used in a cycle to pay back previous investors rather than to purchase the actual coupons, and in less than a year Ponzi personally made around $250,000 PER DAY (~$3.2 million in 2018). However he was very careless, and after a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation by the Boston Post he pleaded guilty to 86 counts of mail fraud, served another 10 years in both federal and state prisons, was deported to Italy, and later spent the the rest of his days broke in Rio de Janeiro. Although he was not the first commit this type of fraud, his notorious rise and fall made the act of relying on the flow of money from new investors to pay back old ones became known as a "Ponzi Scheme." In short, Ponzi arrived in Boston without sauce and therefore was lost, but in the end was lost in the sauce.
The final picture from my Prague Spring series, which shows two men outside the Czech Radio Building walking towards Soviet tanks. Around 15 protesters and employees died defending the station, but held off troops long enough for broadcasts about the invasion to reach the rest of the country. (August 21, 1968)
While each of Perry’s comparison shots tells a compelling story, there’s one that’s really made a mark.
And it doesn’t even include a written story, just the caption “Almost 80 years apart #morelovelesshate“.
The photo itself, of Hitler and high-ranking Nazis on a balcony in Frankfurt, against a recent image of the same location now adorned with a rainbow flag, speaks volumes:
It was later shared on Facebook with the caption “Things can change” where its garnered over 44k shares:
Things can change. Original photographer @peterperry_ on Instagram