Panoramic Photographs

Shooting a Panoramic Photograph

Developing a Panoramic Photograph

Download the MPEG (21 MB) or Quicktime (12.5 MB) Video of this Presentation*

Photo technician handling film
The first step in developing is to place matching sets of identifying numbers on the labelled box. Later, when the lights are out, the film is also numbered. Before turning off the light, the technician makes sure that everything he needs is in place.

Photo technician unrolling film in the darkroom  Photo technician flattening film in the darkroom
While in darkness, the technician unrolls the film, and labels it with the matching number. Each roll of film contains two separate negatives. The film is then cut from its paper backing, and prepared for hanging.

Photo technician placing film on a metal hanger  Photo technician preparing to put film in developer  Photo technician putting film in developer  Photo technician moving film out of developer tank
As the technician hangs the film on a metal hanger, he attaches a weight to its bottom to hold it straight, and to keep its two sides from touching. The hanger is then placed in a tank of developer for ten minutes. From the developer, the film is moved to the fixer. Once the film is "fixed," the technician can turn on the lights.

Close up of photo technician removing film from the fixer tank  Photo technician removing film from the fixer tank  Photo technician letting chemicals drip off film
With the lights back on, the developed film is removed from the fixer, drained, and placed in a washer for five minutes. The washed film is removed from the hanger, and taken to dry.

Photo technician examining negatives on a light table  Close up of a negative on a light table
When the developed film is dry, the technician carefully examines it, watching for scratches or problems that may have occurred in developing, and then chooses the best negative for printing.

*This video was shot on December 19, 1992, in front of the U.S. Capitol. It documents the staff of the Central Photo Company shooting a group portrait with a Cirkut camera, and the subsequent development and printing of the resulting negative. The group assembled for the portrait consists of Library of Congress staff members, mostly from the American Memory pilot program and the Prints and Photographs Division.

The video was produced by Bucky Wall of Buckaroo Associates, and could not have been made without the generous cooperation of James and Rochelle Ivey of Washington Central Photo Company.

The scenes in the photographic laboratory were restaged for the video camera. Film development, which must be carried out in complete darkness, was simulated for the camera using a piece of clear film and, during the video editing process, the scene was reduced to black and white in order to simulate darkness. The footage of exposing the photographic paper in the contact printer was also manipulated in order to simulate the reddish tones of the safelight.