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The hitherto impossible is our specialty

Photonics Spectra
Oct 2018
SUSAN PETRIE, SENIOR EDITOR, susan.petrie @photonics.com

In the final years of the 19th century, the innovative Chicago-based photographer George R. Lawrence used as his slogan, “The Hitherto Impossible in Photography Is Our Specialty.” His slogan was put to the test in 1899 when he was called upon by the Chicago & Alton Railroad company to photograph a new train — the Alton Limited — as a single 8-ft image. The train, which was described as “handsome and exceptionally large,” consisted of six Pullman cars, an engine, and a tender

To accomplish the feat, Lawrence, in turn, designed a handsome and exceptionally large camera, replete with Carl Zeiss lenses. Ultimately, the camera weighed 1400 lbs and contained a glass plate measuring 8 ft × 4 1/2 ft. According to a 1901 article in the Brooklyn Eagle, six people could fit inside the bellows, and the camera required 15 people to operate.

.Fast forward to 2018, and although Lawrence is dead, his slogan is not. The “hitherto impossible” and impressive capabilities of thermal imaging, which have been steadily responding to industry demands for higher speed and resolution, are well-illustrated in this month’s cover story by Chris Bainter of FLIR, “Improving Additive Manufacturing with IR Cameras" (read article).

Cameras are also increasingly adding new functionality to cars, as Contributing Editor Hank Hogan discusses in his article, “Emerging Applications Drive Image Sensor Innovations” (read article). The piece explores innovations in image sensors, including the cameras that are responsible for scan-and-spot responses in braking systems.

And turn to our back page to experience another “hitherto impossible”: News Editor Autum Pylant’s report on an immersive art exhibit now open at the Atelier des Lumières, Paris’ first digital arts center. The exhibit brilliantly re-creates Viennese painter Gustav Klimt’s oeuvre across walls, floors, and ceilings, with the help of 140 high-powered laser video projectors. This is one of the largest fixed multimedia installations in the world.

The exhibit, which runs through January 2019, is housed in a former 19th-century foundry, and features such familiar paintings as “The Kiss” and “Judith and the Head of Holofernes.” Patrons can take in original music composed for the exhibit, as well, while they encounter the beautiful imagery that rotates, swirls, and glides throughout the space.

If you decide to attend, feel free to drop me a line. I’d love to hear about it!

Finally, I’d like to extend a note of thanks to the photonics community for your support as I learn your trade, profession, and passion.


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