One of the many joys of Amberley Publishing's "Through Time" series, is the way that different authors are able to interpret the brief for the series in different ways. The basic idea is to take a series of old photographs of (usually) a town or city, and show each on a page with an equivalent modern image of the same scene. Add in a helpful and informative caption that gives a little background and describes the important changes between the old and new views, and so on to the next view. Different authors have adopted different approaches to deciding what works as an "equivalent modern image", and the result ranges from the very literal to a much looser search for the way the feel of a place has changed over time.
Gaie Brown and Bill Clark began their collaboration on "Greenock & Gourock Through Time" after meeting as members of Inverclyde Camera Club. It is perhaps no surprise that their approach in producing this book has been driven very much by a photographer's eye. A series of excellent historical images of Greenock and Gourock has been chosen, and it is clear that the authors have then set out to reproduce as exactly as possible the same viewpoint in a modern photograph. This could only have been done so effectively if the authors were actually comparing the historical photographs with what they were looking at through their viewfinders at the moment each image was taken, with great care taken to reproduce the viewpoint, the framing and even the focal length of the lens used.
The result is an absolute triumph, and (perhaps because it's also the approach we'd have taken as photographers) for us a particularly fine example of just how effective the "Through Time" format can be. The passage of time (and, sometimes, the encroachment of tree cover or development) has meant it's not always been possible to stick to the exact formula, but where the authors have varied the viewpoint, they have been at pains to say how and why. The power of this approach is that it allows a clear demonstration of how much (sometimes almost everything bar the odd distant spire or chimney) has changed in some views, yet how little change has taken place elsewhere. An excellent book for anyone with any interest in Inverclyde.