Stunning Aerial Photography from the Early 1900s by George Lawrence


Aerial photography has become easier and commonplace with decades of technological advancements, but that doesn’t mean it’s a thing of the modern times. Read on to find out how a photography pioneer managed to capture fascinating aerial photos from the early 1900s after the jump!

Man has always been fascinated with the idea of flight, not only as a means of travel but also for obtaining a glimpse of the world from above. During the early 1900s, while some brilliant minds were experimenting with controlled flights, some photography pioneers were also busy finding ways to hoist their cameras up in the air for a snap of the landscapes below.

There was the German apothecary turned photography pioneer Julius Neubronner, who invented a device for strapping small wooden cameras on pigeons in 1907. Then, there’s also American commercial photographer George Lawrence, who became famous for his amazing photos taken using a system which he called the Lawrence Captive Airship.

First photo: San Francisco in ruins after the 1906 earthquake; Second photo: Detail of George Lawrence’s famed aerial shot from the previous century. Photos via Wikipedia and

This invention, comprised of a series of kites and wires that raised and held a large panoramic camera with stabilizing mechanism, allowed him to take some of the earliest impressive examples of aerial photography, such as the panorama of San Francisco in ruins after the 1906 earthquake (pictured above). According to Chicago Mag, Lawrence made a whopping $15,000 (or around $375,000 today) with the sales of the iconic photo alone.

Take a look at some more photos by George Lawrence of other cities around the United States during the early 1900s and be amazed:

In order: View of New York City from the Times Building, 1906; Kansas City stock yards, Oct. 15, 1907; and Atlantic City, N.J. from Lawrence Captive Airship, 800 feet above boardwalk, 1909.

Want to see more? Head over to ChicagoMag to flip through a big selection of George Lawrence’s aerial panoramas from the Library of Congress!

What do you think of these aerial panoramic photos from the early 20th century? Share your thoughts with us with a comment below!

All information for this article were sourced from George Lawrence on Wikipedia,, and ChicagoMag.

written by plasticpopsicle on 2013-06-26 #lifestyle #history #lomography #1900s #analogue-lifestyle #aerial-photography #george-lawrence

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