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Unidentified Artist

Niagara Panorama, Summer
about 1885
albumen prints
21 7/8 x 43 1/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase from the Charles Isaacs Collection made possible in part by the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment

No single image could possibly encompass the expansive sweep of one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. Early photographers began to make multiple images from contiguous vantage points and fit them together to create panoramas. Rather than detracting from the image, the imperfectly joined seam emphasizes the power of Niagara’s cascades versus man’s imperfect ability to reproduce it.