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We Like Big Photos and We Cannot Lie

UofI Panoramic
Students and faculty at Indiana Central College, now University of Indianapolis, circa 1930. (Click on the photo to enlarge.)

Have you ever browsed through the Digital Image Collection and wondered – who scans all of these images? Well, I am one of them! 

I have been scanning panoramic photographs and negatives from several collections housed at IHS since July 2015. So far, I have completed about 500 scans. Most of these images date from the early 20th century and were taken by a Scanning PanoramicCirkut (rotating panoramic) camera. Due to the length of these images, some are up to 5 feet long, I had to scan them in sections and stitch them back together using Photoshop. Each scan covers about 10 inches wide, so for a 40-inch panoramic, I scanned the image in four sections. Once I had my sections, I used Photoshop and several different tools to stitch the pieces back together. When the image was complete, I cropped, rotated, inverted and/or fixed the levels. I enjoyed scanning every panoramic because each one has a different story and a glimpse into Indiana's past. Whether it was a cityscape of Monument Circle or a World War I military group portrait, each image relates to a city, event, individual or group in Indiana's history. I have seen the evolution of clothing styles, architecture, landscapes, as well as the occasional U.S. President – Taft and Truman – represented.

Martin Photographers
The Martin Photo Shop Photographers pose with their cameras. A cirkut camera is featured third from the right, blocking the view of the front car's windshield. (Martin Collection, IHS)

Since I was raised in Terre Haute, I enjoyed scanning anything related to the city, parks and places I have seen my entire life. As a University of Indianapolis alum, I also felt a connection to the students and faculty seen in this photograph from the 1930s. Even though it was called Indiana Central College back then, the Good Hall building still stands with its large white columns. I can't help but think I walked those same building and grounds as the people in this photograph. I encourage you to look through images found in our Digital Image Collection and see if there are any places or people you recognize!

The Panoramic Photograph Digitization Project is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Indiana State Library. Project results will also be included in Indiana Memory and the Digital Public Library of America.