Post Your Pictures, Then Take A Walk Through History : The Picture Show The website Historypin is like a photographic trip down memory lane.
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Post Your Pictures, Then Take A Walk Through History

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Post Your Pictures, Then Take A Walk Through History

Post Your Pictures, Then Take A Walk Through History

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Historypin has already collected more than 55,000 pictures, videos and audio files since it started last year. Nick Stanhope is the founder of Historypin, and he joins me now from our studios in London. Nick Stanhope, welcome to the program.

NICK STANHOPE: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

RAZ: So when a person goes to Historypin, describe what they see.

STANHOPE: They see a map, and on that map is pinned a whole series of historical content, photographic images, videos, audio recordings, as well as stories and recollections. They can explore as they would any map online, but the interesting (unintelligible) is where they can start to explore by date, as well as location.

RAZ: OK. So I'm on the site right now. I'm in Washington, D.C. So I'm looking at a street corner here in Washington. It's Wisconsin and M. This is right in the heart of Georgetown. And I see the modern view of it right in front of me. But if I click on one of these pictures, I see that what appears to be - I believe it's now a Dean & Deluca, used to be an automotive parts supplier, it looks like from the '50s or the '40s or something like that. And essentially, you can do that in a lot of places around America, though.

STANHOPE: Yeah. The response in America has been fantastic. And people have been pulling out their boxes of photographs around their beds and getting them on and creating exactly the kind of experiences that you describe. And they really want to add to the history of that particular spot.

RAZ: Now, you have mobile apps, too, for this, right? Can you tell me about them?

STANHOPE: The idea is that it's a little time machine in your pocket, which allows you to explore the content that's already been pinned and to, you know, to use that nice - to hold up your cam review and to overlay pictures from history on top of your, you know, the modern surroundings, and also to capture modern moments of history.

RAZ: Some of the actual locations don't really change at all, obviously depending on a perspective. I'm thinking of a photo I saw on the site of Trafalgar Square in London and of Nelson's Column. And the photo that you can - you can look at a photo of King George's coronation, right, the day of his coronation at Trafalgar Square. Really, the only difference is the way people are dressed and what they're driving.

STANHOPE: That's one of the most fascinating aspects of this. You know, next year is the - Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee and there'll be pictures that look almost exactly the same as King George's or Queen Elizabeth's coronation. And one of the main thing I did that really most of the time doing the same kind of things as our ancestors. And obviously, technology has changed and transport communications have all changed, but, you know, a lot of what is recorded on Historypin is these ordinary people going about their daily business, which is actually very similar through the ages rather than drastically different.

RAZ: I was watching a Google Talk you gave, and you were talking about when you were a kid you used to look at old photos with your grandma of places that you had been to.

STANHOPE: Growing up, we always talked and looked at our family photos and footage. And then just before she died a few years ago, we spent a lot of time together around those kind of memories. And like anyone, it made me wish that I had done more of it sooner. There was one photo in particular that she loved, which was a photo taken of her working as a land girl in the summer of 1943. And just after the picture was taken, a guy drove along the road just behind this field, and his eye was so caught by these pretty land girls that he crashed into the ditch. And my gran was really pleased in her last days to be able to tell me that she had some devastating (unintelligible).


STANHOPE: And it was just, you know, a kind of time you have together, which, you know, is so precious but was also capturing a story which other people found interesting.

RAZ: That's Nick Stanhope. He's the man behind the project called Historypin. You can find it at, and he spoke to me from our studios in London. Nick Stanhope, thank you so much.

STANHOPE: Thank you very much. Great to talk to you.

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