This rarely seen image of the city of San Fransisco lying in ruins after the devastating earthquake of 1906 was captured by an ingenious photographer using a camera attached kites.
The panoramic shot, which is of outstanding quality considering the basic equipment available, shows the full scale of the disaster which claimed the lives of over 3,000, injured 225,000 and caused $400,000,000 worth of property damage.
Commercial photographer George Lawrence, who used home-made large format cameras, was well known at the time for his wide angle photographs of banqueting groups, national political conventions, and state legislature sessions.
Historic panorama: A camera soaring above San Francisco Bay by a kite immediately following the earthquake of 1906 captures the mass destruction from the historic 7.9 magnitude quake
Ingenious: Commercial photographer George Lawrence, used a 'train' of kites, designed for advertising, to hoist his heavy home made camera 2,000ft into the sky
To take aerial shots he had previously gone up in balloons, but after a near fatal accident in 1901, when he fell 200ft and was only saved by telegraph wires broke his fall, he began looking for a safer alternative.
The following year, a Chicago inventor Silas Conyne, patented a kite for flying advertising banners.
Impressed by the kites' stability and lifting power, Lawrence obtained permission to build some for himself. To boost their capabilities even further, Lawrence flew several kites in series which allowed him to hoist his heavy wooden-framed cameras up to 2,000ft high.
Sharp: The pictures stood out at the time due to the unique perspective and incredible image quality
After developing a stabilising system he was able to fly as many as seventeen kites in a train, although five to ten were usually enough.
With his great business sense, Lawrence knew there would be huge international demand for the San Francisco pictures and sure enough they earned him well over $15,000 the equivalent today of over $300,000.
According to the New York Times, the day of the disaster - April 18 - would become the first widely photographed disaster in history, but with their unique perspective and incredible image sharpness Lawrence's work stood out.
A city in ruins: The 1906 earthquake claimed the lives of over 3,000, injured 225,000 and caused $400,000,000 worth of property damage
The quake felt as far as Nevada ranks as one of the most significant earthquakes of all time according to the Berkeley Seismological Lab.
Left in a state of havoc, the city's mayor at the time authorized his police force to shoot 'to kill any and all persons found engaged in Looting or in the Commission of Any Other Crime,' according to a proclamation published the day of the disaster.
With his report that all gas and electric companies be turned off until his order he adds, 'You may therefore expect the city to remain in darkness for an indefinite time,' Mayor E. E. Schmitz reported, according to the San Francisco Museum, advising all to stay indoors after nightfall until 'order is returned.'