It’s all in the detail

Panorama of San Francisco, 1878 [detail]

One of the popular exhibits of the recent Tate Britain exhibition was the 17-foot long panorama of San Francisco; the example on display was from the Kingston Museum Collection. Although the panorama has appeared in print in various books over the years, and online, the high resolution version on the web is still something of a revelation. No need to pore over the book-size printed images with a magnifier – now you can scroll up and down and along and see all the detail that’s there.

Various arrangements are at:

As well as the 13-panel join-up, there’s a more sophisticated version that’s knitted together in a full 360 degree circle. The 360-join-up version has gained some distortion along the way, but it’s still fun being able to spin all the way round!

Exceptional detail is also provided for a growing number of Muybridge photographs on the Calisphere website – bringing together all of the photographs from the various University of California websites.

Mills' Seminary, California

Eadweard Muybridge stereoscopic photograph of Mills Hall,
circa 1873. Contributing Institution: F. W. Olin Library Mills College

Why is the woman in black turned away from the camera? A whim of the photographer, to produce a more interesting and enigmatic composition?

For some, the availabllity of such photographs in such minute detail online will take away some of the regret at not being able to own originals. Although reasonable in comparison with many other 19th-century photographic images, good examples don’t come cheap. This rare 1874 cabinet card of a collage by Muybridge’s publishers Bradley & Rulofson is currently on eBay, starting price 895 dollars.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

One comment on “It’s all in the detail

  1. Joe Thompson says:

    An enlargement of the panorama covers the walls of a conference room I sometimes visit in San Francisco. It is wonderful to be able to stand back and look at and study it. I feel as if I am on the roof of the Hopkins mansion with Muybridge.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s