Notes on Kite Aerial Photography: Background

A Bit of History
An Age of Discovery and Invention

George Lawrence took this remarkable kite aerial photograph in 1906 as San Francisco lay devastated by the '06 earthquake. Less than 20 years after Batut's first efforts Lawrence used a train of up to nine large Conyne kites to loft a moving-slit panoramic camera. The camera weighed 49 pounds and was lifted to a height of approximately 2,000 feet anchored by a wire tether. The shutter was released via an electric wire to produce a negative measuring 18" x 48".

For more information see the particularly fine papers by Simon Baker of East Carolina University: Baker, Simon, George Lawrence: A Giant in Kite Aerial Photography, KiteLines, Vol. 11, No. 1, Fall 1994 and Baker, Simon, San Francisco in Ruins: The 1906 Aerial Photographs of George R. Lawrence, Landscape, Vol. 30, No. 2, 1989.







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