Whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. . .click!
It's 1915 and members of the Washington Motorcycle Club pose astride their machines in front of the White House before riding off on a Sunday morning Sociability Run to Baltimore. The gathering oozes respectability: Demure ladies in large cruising hats stare out from side-cars, long before Marlon Brando or Hell's Angels.
The shutter snaps into the present.
The Washington Monument peers between Lincoln Memorial's rippled columns. A frozen reflecting pool and barren trees below give no sign of life.
These are panoramic photographs, taken with a rarely used Eastman Cirkut camera now on display at Union Station's Visitors Center. The older shots were taken by the Shutz Brothers, prominent photographers for nearly five decades in Washington. Contrasting with these are sweeping expanses of contemporary city life by Mark Segal and Woodrow Landay, who also happened to use the same camera. Segal's father bought both the Shutz Brothers' negatives and their Eastman Cirkut a few years ago in an estate sale.
The younger Segal was impressed with the sharply detailed panoramic views offered by the old camera and decided to make an update of the earlier photos. This proved to be no easy feat: The hand-wound camera, which uses a special 10-inch-wide roll of film, weighs nearly 30 pounds and must be mounted on a 12-foot wood tripod. Imagine lugging three boxes of heavy equipment up to the top of the Capitol dome or Willard Hotel, which is what the Shutz brothers and, more recently, Segal and Landay did.
These photographs record the myriad changes Washington has undergone, from a sleepy town full of federal-style and Victorian-style rowhouses built right up to the Capitol steps, to a downtown occupied by monolithic office buildings.
A CAPITAL VIEW-Panoramic photographs by Mark Segal and Woodrow Landay, through September 21 at Union Station Visitors Center. Daily, 8 to 6.