|First circular photo-panorama of Warsaw||po polsku||
Karol Beyer's* original photo-panorama of Warsaw ranks among the major photographic achievements of the Nineteenth Century. Shooting twelve sequential photographs in order to produce a 360-degree view from the cupola of St. Trinity Lutheran Church was no simple task. The church was, at the time, one of the highest buildings in central Warsaw. Even though the parish agreed to allow him to photograph from its tower, which was normally closed to the public, gaining access to this vantage point was quite an exhausting physical task.
The preserved photographs are relatively large: 20 x 24 cm (8 x 9.6 inch) each and were made from the negatives of exactly the same size. It means that the photographer had to use a big camera box, equipped with a large, fixed optics lens. The negatives were obtianed with use of wet plate collodion process (invented in 1851) which was rather complicated and worksome; First the glass plates used as negatives carriers, had to be uniformly coated with sensitive collodion emuslion. Secondly they had to be insesitised, exposed and developed still in the wet state. Usually it ment use of a portable darkroom, located close to the place of exposition. Additional care had to be taken for security reason: The collodion mixture was highly explosive.
In general early photography required a lot of own technical work and experiments. Karol Beyer made a point of being up-to-date on all the latest knowledge in the photography field. He had gained a wealth of photographic experience from his work with portraits and landscapes (P ock, Gda sk, Malbork and Warsaw) and developed his own unmistakable style. He participated in international photographic events and was a well known professional. He went on later to photograph several other Polish cities.
Now the Karol Beyer panorama photograps, together with other perls of old photography are preserved at National Museum in Warsaw. Thanks to an active cooperation of this institution a computerized version of the panorama is now available on the website of Warsaw Municipal Government Office.
*Photographs are not signed. This can be explained by the fact that photographing of open views of the city without permission of Russian government was prohibited.