Photography method unites past, present

RAPID CITY, S.D. – A Custer-based photographer and publisher has latched on to a unique way to look back on history.

Paul Horsted gives a talk at the Rapid City Public Library about his photographic work, connecting present and the past. Photo Date: Nov. 21, 2018.

Horsted talks about his work Wednesday.

During the Rapid City Public Library’s Lunch and Learn event Wednesday, photographer Paul Horsted presented his “then-and-now” photography method to compare present and past.

Horsted spent five years collecting old photographs of national parks. He then revisited those same sites with his own camera to re-create the vistas as they look today.

“Then-and-now” photography is an interesting way to see not just what has changed, but what has stayed the same.

“I found one way I could connect with history is by figuring out where somebody took that picture a long time ago,” said Horsted. “Then stand in exactly the same spot, setting up my camera there. Then you see what’s changed, what’s stayed the same, learn a little bit about history.

“You see changes in the forest here in the Black Hills, for example. Or out in our national parks whether things have changed or been preserved over the years. It’s certainly a fascinating way to look back,” Horsted continued.

Horsted has compiled his photos in a number of anthologies. They can be found in many Black Hills area booksellers, National Park Service and National Forest Service offices, and through his website,

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