There are more than 1,200 panoramic photographs within the collections of the Indiana Historical Society. In our newest exhibition, Life in Detail: Panoramic Photography in Indiana, you can explore the origins of panoramic photography, browse unique images from our collection, and learn about Indiana’s history by viewing what people of the past captured for future generations.
Life in Detail: Panoramic Photography in Indiana runs through October 31, 2020. These images span the 19th through 21st centuries, and capture Indiana’s magnificent architecture, diverse citizens and important events. The collection consists of early segmented panoramic photographs and images made with Cirkut cameras, produced by professional and amateur photographers alike.
What you will see in the exhibition
Life in Detail: Panoramic Photography in Indiana is the result of a deep dive into the Indiana Historical Society’s large collection of panoramic photographs. The exhibit will feature a curated group of these photos that show areas across the state from Gary to Evansville and from Terre Haute to Richmond. You will see a troop of Boy Scouts from the 1920s as well as a gathering of Motorcycle clubs at Turkey Run State Park during WWI.
The photos selected show the famous like President Theodore Roosevelt and Vice-President Charles W. Fairbanks, as well as some whose names are lost to history, but who made an impact on the life of Hoosiers like striking streetcar workers in Indianapolis. This exhibit will explore the fine architecture of the state like the buildings of Earlham College as well as sites less grand, but no less important, like a pastoral scene in Noblesville or the shop yards of the Monon Railroad in Lafayette.
Shortly after the invention of photography in 1839, photographers wanted to expand images outside the narrow view of a normal camera. They began by taking individual photographs of skylines and landscapes and placing the series next to each other to create a “spliced” image. This process was known as image stitching. Cameras specifically designed to hold the long negatives needed for panoramic photographs were patented and manufactured beginning in the 1840s.
One of the most popular panoramic cameras invented was the Cirkut. Patented in 1904, it used large format film and could produce a 360-degree photograph. Both the camera and the film rotated on a special tripod during the exposure. Cirkut cameras were used mostly by commercial photographers to capture city views, landscapes, group portraits and special events.
By blowing up the size of these photos you will get a unique view of these places, times and people providing an opportunity to explore who these people were, how they dressed, what the celebrated and much more.