Thursday, October 08, 2020

Street View of 1960's Los Angeles

12 Sunsets is a new interactive map which allows you to travel back in time and view the Sunset Boulevard of the swinging 60's. All thanks to the fantastic photography of Ed Ruscha. 

At the end of the 1960s photographer Ed Ruscha extensively photographed the buildings on both sides of the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. To capture these photos Ruscha mounted a motorized camera on the back of a pickup truck, which he then drove along Sunset Boulevard taking thousands of photos of both sides of the Strip. The resulting photographs were published in his book 'Every Building on the Sunset Strip'

The 12 Sunsets website allows you to explore Ed Ruscha's photographs of the Sunset Strip on top of an interactive map. The map appears in the middle of the screen, with the photos of each side of Sunset Boulevard appearing above and below the map. Ruscha has photographed the Strip at regular intervals ever since the 1960's. This means that you can view street view scenes of the Sunset Strip from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and even from 2007. Just click on the year to change the date of the street view photos shown on the map.

My first reaction when viewing 12 Sunsets was one of disbelief. I couldn't believe that the site's designers had positioned the photographic montage of one side of the street upside down. Then I clicked on the 'Flip' button and my eyes were opened to the wonders of CSS transform properties. If you haven't done it yet - press the 'Flip' button on the 12 Sunsets interactive map. 

Los Angeles isn't the only city which can be explored thorugh vintage Street View photography. New York City also has extensive collections of vintage street side imagery.

1940's NYC and 80s.NYC are two fantastic interactive maps which allow you to explore vintage photographs of New York City street scenes. The photos on these two maps were taken by the Finance Department of New York City, at the beginning of the 1940's and then again at the beginning of the 1980's. During these two decades the Finance Department captured photographs of every single building in the five boroughs of the city. The pictures were then used to estimate property values in NYC.

These two interactive maps use the Finance Department's vintage photos of New York buildings to allow you to explore the streets of New York as they appeared in the 1940's and 1980's. Using the two maps you can travel back in time to see how your favorite New York streets have changed (or not) over the last eighty years. 

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