Kite Photography Then and Now: George Lawrence and Craig Wilson

Photo of the isthmus by Craig Wilson
In 1908 George Lawrence photographed aerial views of Madison with a Kite. One hundred years later, in 2008, kite photographer Craig Wilson re-shot that view. Lawrence used a massive swing lens panoramic camera that exposed a glass plate negative measuring 20 x 48 inches weighing over 50 pounds. His camera required a team of 10 big kites to lift.

To capture the current vista, Wilson needed to step back from Lawrence’s vantage point to include Monona Terrace. Wilson’s image was made by stitching together about 14 images or parts of images shot with a Pentax K10D digital SLR. His images are printed out the same 20x48 inches that the Lawrence contact print measures.

The State capitol in Lawrence’s image had burned in 1904 and is in the process of being rebuilt. In 1911 construction would begin on rebuilding the center dome (the one we have now) which is much taller than the one in this image. More photos can be seen at:

More about Craig Wilson