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Recreating some of the famous Richard Halliburton photos has been one of my favorite parts of this project. Hunting down the locations often takes a surprising amount of detective work, bushwhacking, trespassing and luck. I’ve made some interesting friends along the way and seen some amazing sights that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
You’ll note that most of the pictures don’t line up quite right. That is because my little point-and-shoot camera doesn’t have the same focal length as the cameras used by Halliburton in the 1920’s and 1930’s, so even if I manage to frame a picture perfectly (which, admittedly, is a rare event), certain objects will appear nearer or further away than they do in the Richard Halliburton photos. Still, the similarities and differences are clear.
It’s also nice to see in color what Halliburton photographed in black and white. Sometimes I forget that he lived in a world as colorful and vibrant as the one we inhabit today. The connection I feel with the past is much more tangible when looking at these then-and-now photo comparisons.
Temple of Zeus, Athens, Greece:
A lovely Australian couple helped me take this shot. It’s amazing to find a place that has changed so little in the past 80 years.
Hagia Sofia, Istanbul, Turkey:
I had to get up at the crack of dawn to capture this photo without mobs of tourists and hawkers in the shot. Note the patched brick in the upper right corner of the arch.
The Siq and Treasury, Petra, Jordan:
This one I took on the evening of a cold winter day after waiting for most of the tourists to leave. The floor of the slot canyon moves with every rainstorm, but nothing else has changed.
Grand Hotel de la Poste, Marrakech, Morocco:
This is not a true Halliburton recreation, but rather a recreation of the postcard they give out at the Grand Hotel de la Poste, which is still a swanky restaurant after all these years. It’s reasonably likely that Halliburton ate or stayed here during his visit in 1927. The Grand Hotel is almost buried in the surrounding development, but if you look closely it’s the same building after all.
Mount Fuji, Japan
Richard’s ascent of Mount Fuji was a remarkable feat of audacity. He was the second person to climb the mountain in winter, and the first to do it alone! No one would have believed him if not for the photo he took of Fuji’s distinctive crater draped in snow. I followed the same route, but, alas, it was fall and there was no snow.
Bay of Polis, Ithaca, Greece:
This one was fun to hunt down. I had limited options for vantage points as most of the land was fenced off into private olive groves. I eventually found myself on a road/driveway that got me as close to the right view as I was going to get. It also popped me out on a secluded section of beach—bonus!
Treasury, Petra, Jordan:
This one definitely involved some rule-breaking. I could see the perfect vantage point about a hundred feet above my head, but the way was closed and guarded. Nothing that a little swift rock climbing and pretending to be deaf couldn’t fix.
Matterhorn, Gornergrat, Switzerland:
An iconic photo of Richard Halliburton with the unmistakable Matterhorn in the background. Richard went on to climb the Matterhorn a couple days later. I’m still waiting on my chance. I may also have to redo this photo since my posing skills were not up to par.
Mound of Marathon, Marathon, Greece:
This one was so frustrating. You would think a mound of dirt would be easy to photograph, but the focal length problem made this one impossible. Oh well, you get the idea. The mass grave is less wild these days, but remains an impressive monument.
Porch of Maidens, Acropolis, Athens, Greece:
It was a thrill to see this place after reading Richard’s fantastical ramblings about the stone maidens at the Acropolis. In Richard’s day there was a terracotta replica of one maiden, easily spotted in his photo. She and her sisters have by now all been swapped out for plaster replicas, but precious little else has changed.
Great Saint Bernard Pass, Switzerland:
Lacking an elephant, I had to sit on my boyfriend’s shoulders. Still, we had so much fun taking this picture.
Jemaa el Fna, Marrakech, Morocco:
The basic architecture of this plaza haven’t changed over the years, but the people populating the plaza sure have. The old photo here is not one of Richards, it’s a postcard I found at a gift shop. But, the vantage point for the photo is a second-story cafe that Richard could potentially have eaten at. Okay, so I’m reaching, but photo is cool!
Castellan Spring, Delphi, Greece:
Oh my gosh, the stories I have from this day. They’re too good to tell here, you’ll have to wait for the book, but rest assured that alcohol and trespassing were both involved.
Rupert Brooke’s grave, Skyros, Greece:
In the photo the grave is somewhat obscured by the recent addition of a fence, but in person the site was just as moving as Richard described it. Getting to this site involved hiking across an island and spending the night with very curious goats.
Somewhere in Holland:
There was no possible way to know where Richard originally took this picture, but fortunately there are lots of trees in the Netherlands, and most of the land is flat, so finding a reasonable surrogate was easy. I don’t know where the color version of this photo went, so we’re going with black and white for this one.
Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany:
This is another non-Halliburton photo. I came across it while wandering around the area and had to try for a recreation. The devastation that occurred in Europe during WWI and WWII is, I think, beyond comprehension for many non-Europeans. Photographing it like this helps me to understand. Richard came of age after WWI and died before WWII, so he never really saw Europe like this, either.
Acropolis, Athens, Greece:
This is one of my favorite Richard Halliburton photos. A stroke of luck led me to someone who knew exactly where I could capture this photo. Four of us ended up making the trip, and everyone got so caught up in the Uneven Tenor adventure that we all got our photos taken here. Aside from a remarkable incursion of trees, much of Athens remains recognizable. The acropolis was unfortunately covered in scaffolding while I was there.
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