Here Are Some Impressive Early 20th Century Photographs
Who doesn't like a panoramic view of a cityscape or a landscape or even…a portrait?
Probably no one right, it's our history and a reminder of where photography came from too.
Here then, are a late nineteenth and early twentieth-century collection of panoramas from commercial photographers of that age.
Panoramic photo format gained popularity during the start of the twentieth century. These have now been carefully archived with the assistance of a few skilled people.
Assistant curator Carol Johnson worked tirelessly on this collection and the digitization of the collection was overseen by Philip J. Michel, a conversion specialist.
The collection is available at the Library of Congress and it has about 4,000 images that were submitted by photographers to the Library of Congress for copyright protection during the late 19th and early 20th century.
This collection holds works of more than four hundred commercial photographers. These photographs were used in magazines, postcards, real estate ads and to promote tourism in the tourist industry at that time.
The United States Of America – How It Was Then
Here you can view a collection of panoramas that give an overview of America’s late nineteenth and twentieth-century cityscapes, landscapes and portraits. The collection includes
Military and Naval Activities,
Schools and colleges, and
Most of the images are dated between 1851 and 1991 and have pictures from all the fifty states in America and the District of Columbia. There are some pictures from foreign countries too during this period.
The actual size of these images ranges from 28 inches x 6 feet while the average width is 10 inches.
The reason why you see fold lines in the digital reproductions is, because the panoramic photographs were cut into two or three sections so that they could be mounted on linen, folded and stored in boxes.
There are also portrait panoramic photographs of people attending conferences and other big events. Back then, these were given away as souvenirs to the attendees. A pretty neat gift?
Photographers who took the panoramas often used the term “panographed” rather than “photographed” and once a panorama was ready, it was displayed for viewing and was available to be ordered.
The most popular were large group portraits – these generally made a lot of sales.
For those interested, here is an overview of how panoramas were shot and how the collection was digitized.
Shooting A Panoramic Photograph (Especially Portraits):
In order to compensate for this arc movement of the camera, the people who are to be photographed are arranged in a similar arc fashion so that the resulting photograph appears as though everyone is standing in a straight line.
The photographer focuses the frame, loads the film to the back of the camera and the gears are locked in such away that the film and the camera move in perfect sync while taking a series of shots that expose the entire film.
The photographer also alerts the group of people to be photographed that it's not one shot but a series of exposures taken at intervals – so the people will need to stay still till the process is complete, which would of course otherwise create a blurred picture.
You can see how this is done in the video below! Quite interesting.
Once scanned the resulting image has a resolution of around 50 to 100 dpi when reproduced to the same size as the original panorama.
The quality of the image depends on a few things – the size to which one wishes to reproduce the images, the scanning device and any enhancing software used.
While digitizing, the images are made on 35 mm film using a modified motion picture camera. A computerized control table moves the panorama under the camera, that captures a series of overlapping images of the original panorama.
The Panorama is then recreated using the process called “reassembly,” which match lines identified for each segment and the overlapping area is cropped off. The resulting segments are blended to form the panorama in a digitized format.
Later in 1996 JJT, Inc., of Texas rescanned the 35 mm film to a higher resolution this time, 1000 x 700 pixels as the base capture. The frames were then assembled to produce high-quality master images with minimal enhancements.
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