Cities From the Sky

Sherman Fairchild, the photographer who transformed aviation

(Smithsonian Institution)

New York Mosaic

(Smithsonian Institution)

By combining 100 aerial photographs, Fairchild produced this mosaic of Manhattan in 1921. Three years later, the company created a map of New York City’s five boroughs so exquisitely detailed it showed cars on Fifth Avenue and crowds on Coney Island. The aerial maps proved expensive to produce, however. An early contract photographing the city of Newark paid a princely $7,000—but to complete the job, Fairchild ended up spending $30,000.

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