Tell a story by comparing photos

Natural disasters can change lives and landscapes in an instant. Before-and-after photos are a great way to tell the story of a wildfire, a tornado or a hurricane. And it’s easy make a photo comparison interactive using a free tool from Knight Lab. All you need are photos and Juxtapose.

The tool works with photos from Dropbox or from a URL. I built this one using the URLs of two photos published by the New York Times, showing a neighborhood in Puerto Rico before and after Hurricane Maria. The app gives you boxes for photo dates and credits. You decide if you want that information displayed in the final product.When you like the result, click “publish” and the tool generates embed codes you can use on Medium or any web page.

Notice the line down the middle of the image? That’s a slider, which you can animate or not. I chose not to, putting the user in control. It’s a good idea to explain that, since most people might not know that they can manipulate the images themselves.

The tool is useful for comparing any kind of change over time, like the effects of development on a town or the effects of climate on a region. The best part is, it’s totally free and really easy to use. Give it a try!