See original article here.
Long before the age of the Go-Pro and only three years after the first powered air flight, one ingenious photographer captured the devastation of the 1906 quake from 2,000 feet up. Thanks to the US Geological Survey, his work now looks better than ever, giving us a strangely beautiful, tranquil image of a city still going strong even amidst disaster.
George Lawrence was a commercial photographer from Illinois who pioneered aerial photography. He snagged this striking panorama of San Francisco’s waterfront just six weeks after the 7.7-7.9 quake with his trademark Lawrence Captive Airship--basically a series of massive kites. He reportedly made $15,000 selling the prints.
You can find the original here, but more fascinating is the digital restoration from USGS that was subtly enchanced to allow for extreme close-ups. Fly toward the waterfront and you’ll find a stately and oddly put-together tent city. Head toward the Tenderloin or the Financial District to see the haunting skeletons of what used to be: miles and miles of square-shaped blocks of rubble and metal-frame moldings. But you have to admit, even in ruins the city still maintains a certain stately beauty you can't find anywhere else.