Wide Open Spaces

Panoramic photos show a spectrum of early 20th century America


The Big Picture

By Josh Sapan

Hardcover, 144 pages ($29.99, Princeton Architectural Press)

The invention of flexible film (as opposed to solid plates) in the late 1800s sparked a revolution in devices that could take “panoramic” photos. Before long, it seemed, just about everyone—and every kind of group—was hiring a photographer with one of the newfangled cameras, some of which could take a single image encompassing a full 360 degrees. These delightful reproductions from the collection of Sapan (the CEO of the company that operates the American Movie Channel, the Independent Film Channel and the Sundance Channel)—of circus performers, rodeo cowboys and Indians, football and baseball teams, church groups, Ku Klux Klan members, college students, beachgoers, firemen and policeman, tradesmen, bathing beauties, soldiers and more—offer a wildly diverse cross-section of early 20th century America, in all its wonderful, wide-angle splendor.

—Neil Pond, American Profile Magazine

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