Jaw-Dropping Before And After Photos Everyone Needs To See

Whether people explore vast, depleted deserts or sprawling metropolises, every step they take is on land that has likely changed dramatically many times before they set foot there. And while many people can understand that in a vacuum, it means a lot more actually to see that change.

That's likely at the heart of what fascinates everyone so much about before and after photos. It's hard to know how gradual and subtle change can be until people see where things started and where they ended up.

One dog looks healthier but the other looks surprisingly well

Screenshot 2024-03-19 at 4.51.37 PM
sad-electrons/reddit
sad-electrons/reddit

As Reddit user sad-electrons explained, this is a picture of her childhood Beanie Baby sitting next to one she recently purchased. The old one was given to her when she was only two weeks old, which is impressive since she's now 22.

So, while the dog on the right may look worryingly dirty and malnourished if it was really alive, she actually did quite well to keep it looking as good as it does 22 years later. She was either a gentle child or had some really handy parents.

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Bad tattoo or not, Wu-Tang is supposed to be forever

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Technical-Exchange53/reddit
Technical-Exchange53/reddit
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Although Reddit user Technical-Exchange53 assured distraught commenters that he hasn't fallen out of love with the Wu-Tang Clan, what he loved a lot less was how much the ink bled from his original tattoo. However, it was an opportunity to get a little more ambitious.

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Not only is the cover-up significantly more detailed and carefully done, but it doesn't require an explanation to those who were too young to remember the group's explosive 1993 debut album. And it even has a killer bee for those who do remember.

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Did anyone notice these changes?

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Reasonable-JPEG/reddit
Reasonable-JPEG/reddit
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Considering that most people don't spend a lot of time staring at their cash, it's easy to miss how much the U.S. Mint changes dollar bills before they add new ones to circulation. For instance, here are $100 bills from 1977, 2003, and 2017.

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The change from 2003 to 2017 is fairly understandable, as the biggest differences seem to involve sophisticated blue tinting and holographic marks to make counterfeiting more difficult. However, it's a little jarring to learn that until 2003, the bills used a completely different portrait of Benjamin Franklin. He looked happier back then.

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It's not quite as bad as it looks

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louiscyr/reddit
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Although there is a great deal of room to criticize the logging industry, this clear-cutting operation that left a verdant clearing despoiled isn't the end of the story. After all, this isn't an episode of Captain Planet.

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Instead, it's worth considering that this probably isn't the first time this path has looked like this. For a working forest like this, a big cut-down is followed by just as thorough replanting, and the cycle continues. It may take a while, but it'll look nice again.

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A time capsule for a fascinating surgery

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evan4765/reddit
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As these treasured hand molds from after the uploader's birth reveal, they were born with a thumb that didn't quite form. This had a significant effect on both their hand shape and their ability to grab things.

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So, as the other mold shows, they soon underwent surgery to move their index finger over and act as a thumb. So, while it means that one of their hands has four fingers, it also means that the hand is more mobile and usable than it otherwise would be.

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The chips on the bottom are not as old as they seem

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Screenshot 2024-03-19 at 4.36.51 PM
ChairsAreIdiots/reddit
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From the looks of it, the candy store employees dumped a batch of fresh chocolate chips onto the old ones, which only underscores how gray and unappetizing they look by comparison. Who could possibly want to eat those?

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However, the honest answer is that someone who knows what's going on here would. It turns out that the grayness comes from the coating that appeared on them after sugars and fats pushed their way to the surface. Not only are they safe to eat, but they probably taste pretty good.

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At least this didn't seem to make it madder

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smeegarific/reddit
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Before an ill-fated trip to the grooming salon, this cat didn't seem like it was in the best of moods. It's unclear why — probably even to its owner — but it was obvious that what happened didn't do its disposition any favors.

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At least now, it's a lot clearer what the cat is so upset about. Apparently, it only takes one polite compliment paid to a Sphinx cat to make everyone think you want to look like them. At least, it's hard to think of a better explanation for this haircut.

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They look just like new!

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ears
kaseeeey/reddit
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It's unclear how long ago she did it, but Reddit user kaseeeey's clear penchant for body modifications led her to get trendy gauge earrings. Unfortunately, it seems that her adoption of them was such that they permanently stretched her ear lobes.

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However, it turns out that it wasn't as permanent as some may have feared. After getting the stretched lobes cut, removed, and sutured shut, her ears both look and feel like they did before she started. And this time, she's keeping them that way.

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Minus the liquid, these are the same thing

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ivanhaversham/reddit
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Even if someone were to recognize that the little knob next to this Sprite bottle is the same color, the vast difference between them would make it hard to believe they're the same thing. However, it's technically true that they are.

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That's because that knob is a Sprite bottle before it goes through the blow molding process. Obviously, that's a pretty necessary step before they can fill it with more than a medicine cup's worth of liquid. It's like a tadpole for bottles.

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Only one of these handfuls is supposed to look like that

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nernballs/reddit
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This will either be a familiar sight or a puzzling one, and that depends entirely on whether the person reading this owns a chainsaw. That's because this shows what kind of wood chips the saw creates before and after its chain is replaced.

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For reference, it's time to change the chain if the waste product looks as fine and vaguely powdery as it is on the top hand. The bigger the chips are, the cleaner that chainsaw is cutting. A lot of folks have learned something today.

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This change was sorely needed

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SweetnessTheWarlock/reddit
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It's no secret that California is prone to some severe droughts, but that doesn't make it any less shocking to see the difference between the depleted landscapes during those droughts and the serenity that follows when it's over. And that change can happen surprisingly quickly.

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For instance, this photo captures the difference that just one wet winter made for this struggling environment. It's definitely a reason to stay hopeful when those droughts rear their ugly heads again. The cycle continues.

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A lot more happened here than a shave

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PM_meSECRET_RECIPES/reddit
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As some may have already guessed, the couple in this photo once belonged to an Amish community. Of course, that means there's a world of difference in how they look now that they've decided to leave it.

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As Reddit user PM_meSECRET_RECIPES explained, this wasn't a case where they went on Rumspringa as teenagers. They were still in the church as adults, which sadly means that they've since been shunned by multiple family members for leaving that lifestyle behind. It's a common tale.

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No, these photos aren't in the wrong order

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midnightpeizhi/reddit
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Generally, photos like these are meant to show how subtly powerful the ravages of time can be. Yet, while it's true that this does show how different these 1940s boots look after about 80 years, the old and worn boots are the "before" picture.

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That's right, this photo is really a showcase of how stunningly these boots transformed after they were restored. The craziest part is that it only took some polishing and new laces to get them looking this good.

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A multi-layered before and after shot

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dog
dustofoblivion123/reddit
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This woman found a very effective way to demonstrate how dramatically her malamute has grown from an adorably small puppy to the adorably massive goof it is today. After all, she's even wearing the same outfit as when she first got the pup.

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So, while it's incredibly endearing to see how much harder the malamute is to carry now that she's tried to recreate the original photo, it's also cool to spot the detail of her jeans fading in that time.

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A hard but necessary path

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PrincessDab/reddit
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As those with experience with this hard and discouraging situation may have guessed, this woman has been diagnosed with cancer. And the difference between these photos amounts to about five months of chemotherapy. And the effects of that rough treatment on her are clear.

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Although chemotherapy often gives cancer patients their best chance of remission, it's such a painful and draining experience that it can often feel hard to keep going. Although hair loss is a common response to the treatment, that tired look in her eyes is even more universal.

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A peek behind the curtain

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beethy/reddit
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While out in the California desert, Reddit user beethy helped the woman pictured here arrange a dynamic action shot that saw her dress like Nova from the Starcraft video game series. And alongside the impressive finished product was a before shot that showed everyone how they did it.

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Obviously, the original photo had a lot of digital work done on it to add the futuristic rifle's muzzle flash and to remove the chair she was sitting in. However, the most ingenious touches were the little bowl that provided a light source for the dust cloud and the assistant flipping her ponytail up.

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Beauty standards don't just change for women

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Screenshot 2024-03-19 at 4.22.10 PM
sum1otherthanme/reddit
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Although it's hard to see the resemblance, these are both supposed to represent the same person. Specifically, this photo shows a Ken doll from 1985 lying next to one from 2018. Sure, 30 years is a long time, but it's still fascinating to see how his look has changed.

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Ken has never seemed as tough as someone like G.I. Joe, but the version from the '80s had noticeably more masculine features that made him look a little like Robert Redford. By comparison, the modern one has a softer face and a trendy haircut that makes him more comparable to Justin Bieber. The 2018 Ken looks like the 1985 doll's teenage son.

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A life-affirming and life-saving change

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BigMetalHoobajoob/reddit
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As Reddit user BigMetalHoobajoob told it, the first of these photos were taken after he was (inaccurately) arrested for armed robbery while he was shoplifting to feed a severe addiction. After he was able to get past the waitlist for a rehabilitation program, he became sober in 2017.

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The second picture marks the first anniversary of his sobriety. In that time, he became the manager of a Sober Living house to help others along on similar journeys to the powerful one he undertook. He said that one of the most liberating changes since becoming clean was no longer hating himself and those around him.

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These notes have something special in common

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Cli33ord/reddit
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At first, this photo may appear to be a comparison of two students' notes. One unruly student is drawing pictures in their book rather than taking notes, while a more studious kid's notes are diligent and neat. However, that's not what this is.

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Instead, we are actually looking at the same person's notes. The only difference is that the doodles in the top row were made before they started taking ADHD medication, while the bottom row is a great sign that those meds are working.

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The fanciest chairs started a lot like this

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When an ornately made chair like this surfaces, it's hard not to wonder what it looked like before someone put their skills and creativity to work on it. And the answer appears to be a cross between a chair and a game of Jenga.

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On one hand, those brilliant designs had to be carved from something. However, their level of detail also makes it a little surprising that the starting blocks weren't larger. It's a fascinating "before" shot that most people rarely see.

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It's funny and powerful all at once

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Berlin
Endless_Vanity/reddit
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Most of the time, the results that come from people recreating photos from their childhoods are pretty funny. Adults squeezing into clothes that no longer fit and twisting themselves into awkward positions that came naturally when they were kids never gets old.

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Indeed, it's similarly endearing to see this guy pick away at the empty space where the Berlin Wall used to stand. However, there's something powerful about the fact that this photo proves he lived to see it fall and see Germany reunited.

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Can't both of these things be true?

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Reddit
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For as long as signs like these have existed, there have been some pranksters who have messed around with the letters and made them say funny things. Most people can also attest that the resulting messages tend to be much cruder than this.

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However, even the most uptight religious leader would have a hard time arguing with this one. Not that we mind receiving further evidence of this, but dogs have showered enough love on everyone to prove this beyond the shadow of a doubt.

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What an amazing difference!

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Rememorie/reddit
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As Reddit user Rememorie explained, they have a lot of experience with photo restoration. While it's hard to tell whether this was about average for the quality of the photos they work with or whether this was an extreme example, what is clear is the miracles this person can work.

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As for how Rememorie knows what colors to use, this information often comes from the client. If they don't know, their knowledge of the time period can at least point them in the right direction. Failing that, their best option is guesswork using color and tone theory.

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We swear this is the same dog

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dande87/reddit
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This is a beautiful dog, but it didn't really look like the same one by the time the second photo was taken. That blanket under it makes it clear that the dog got incredibly dirty, but how?

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Well, not to worry because it wasn't playing around in an abandoned coal mine. Instead, the dog had so much fun at the dog park that there barely seemed to be a patch of fur that wasn't completely covered in dirt. Good luck with the bath!

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Believe it or not, this is the same bathroom

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Fit_Objective_4781/reddit
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After three weeks of work and $8,400 in materials purchased, Reddit user Fit_Objective_4781 completely transformed their bathroom. Indeed, they did such great work that it's hard even to recognize it as the same room, especially since the renovated one looks about three feet longer.

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But when someone told the uploader this, they figured that perception was influenced by a combination of camera settings and how much room the old bathtub took up. That's easier to underestimate than it may seem.

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"So you have chosen death"

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cat
healzman/reddit
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The concept behind this shot is simple: It captures the cat's face before and after the uploader's wife tells her that she's not the one who's supposed to go in the high chair. Apparently, that wasn't very well-received.

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Based on the cat's shift from cute neutral expression to pure malevolence, I think these new parents have found that they're a high chair short. After all, she really doesn't look like she's getting out of that one without a fight.

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What is this a picture of? The answer is progress

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ceramics
RockGamingReal/reddit
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It's hard not to be a little distracted by the nightmarish quality of that sheep's face, but that sophisticated Don Quixote ceramic next to it would have never been possible without it. After all, this isn't a comparison between the work of two students.

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Although it's true that the pieces were made at different skill levels, they were the skill levels of one person four years apart. Before their four-year ceramics course, the nicest thing people could honestly say is that it looks like a sheep. But since they've finished, they can genuinely make great art.

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Where does she go to school, Mad Max Elementary?

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boobafett13/reddit
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The first day of school can turn out disappointing for a lot of kids, but this little girl looks like she's just returned from a war. And it's hard not to notice that her chic little outfit was missing a couple of pieces by the end of the day.

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It's unclear if even her mom knows what happened to them, but it seems she's traded her jacket and bow for a thousand-yard stare. Whatever happened that day, she'll at least give an answer besides "fine" when she's asked how school went.