The photos come from virtualshanghai, university and library collections (Bristol, UWM, Harvard, USC, Virginia, HKU, LMU, LoC), minguotupian.com, Google Arts & Culture, ebay, archive.org, Flickr, Chinese auctions, 书格, Zhiganov's atlas, my scanned books... If you want to point me to other, lesser-known photo collections, I welcome suggestions. Or you can join PastVu and start adding photos yourself. The images have to be taken before 2000, preferrably outdoors, and to have identifiable architectural or geographic features making it possible to locate the address. But if you don't know the location, the photo will be put out for discussion, and the location can be figured out collectively. Discussionss in the comments under each photo are very much encouraged.
I am the moderator for China, so every upload goes past me.
Click to explore Kat's Map of Old Shanghai
Before chosing this platform I tried others.
- Sepia Town does not have any photos of Shanghai (or China, for that matter). The website's most attractive feature is the "then and now" side-by-side comparison, but it relies on Google Street View, so it does not work for Shanghai. But even without the "then and now", when I tried to map one photo, there was some annoying glitch that insisted that I haven't placed a pin, so I lost my patience and quit.
- History Pin already has some images of Shanghai, but many of them are not historic, and most are inaccurately mapped. So I gave it a pass too.
- PastVu is a Russian website with an English interface. I found their community's obsession with figuring out the exact position and direction of the camera very appealing. Additionally, one can switch between the underlaying maps: I've been using Google Satellite, but Yandex Satellite is often better: it's sharper and more contrasty.