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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
"To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It's a way of life." ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Massive Panaramic Photograph of San Francisco After Devastating 1906 Earthquake

This panorama of San Francisco in ruins about six weeks after an earthquake and subsequent fire was taken by George R. Lawrence using a kite, on Monday 28th May 1906.

The 1906 earthquake in San Francisco was a 7.9 magnitude earthquake whose epicenter was located only a couple miles from San Francisco. The enormous magnitude and close proximity to the city resulted in one of the largest natural disasters in American history. The death toll from the event, estimated to be well into the thousands (though official numbers have often been contested due to cover-ups and lost records) is the single worst loss of life from a natural disaster in California’s history.

*click on image for larger view*

Download the huge 158MB file here

 Lawrence's camera
Lawrence's hand-built, 49-pound panoramic camera suspended from a series of Conyne kites.

A few weeks after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, George Lawrence captured a remarkable image of the sprawling ruins using his captive airship a hand-built, 49-pound panoramic camera suspended from a series of Conyne kites. To honor George Lawrences feat, and to commemorate the centennial of the 1906 earthquake, Scott Haefner re-shot Lawrence's panorama in collaboration with Drachen Foundation.

*click on image for a larger view

Photographer George Raymond Lawrence (February 24, 1868 – December 15, 1938)


  1. Great page! I cave a presentation in the mausoleum where he is interred in. It's in Manteno, Illinois and I have a picture of his crypt with a bronze relief of him made by his daughter that is on the marble cover. I would love for you to post it.

    1. Hi Lawrence,
      I would be happy to take a look at the image. Please send it to anthonyluke@gmail.com

      Thanks for visiting the blog! I appreciate your feedback greatly.