These early images of well-known cities are a visual testament to the changing urban landscape. Many almost unrecognizable today.
Bustling cities like Los Angeles and New York City show sprawling farmland, while Bombay’s photo shows wide, spacious roads that look nothing like today’s modern images of a crowded Mumbai.
The long exposure times required for these early photographs meant that they were not suitable for commercial portraits. The first subjects tended to be street scenes and cityscapes.
This photo of what is now downtown Los Angeles was taken around 1860. It’s possible to see the Plaza Church, built in 1822, in the lower left corner of the photo. It’s pretty much the only image in the photo still standing.
Showing Parliament Street from Trafalgar Square, this early photograph of London was taken in 1839.