Why do they call it that? Burgert Brothers Cirkut Photographs: Really big pictures of Tampa Bay, panorama photos of Tampa

6:46 AM, Apr 25, 2013   |    comments
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Click here for more installments of "Why Do They Call It That?"

If a picture says a thousand words, what about a picture that's five feet long?! There's a special kind of photo that has preserved some amazing views of Tampa Bay's history.

Why do they call them Cirkut Photographs?

I think I have one particular photo that is going to seriously impress you. But first, here's how we got it.

It starts at the Burgert Brothers photo studio in Ybor City. The Burgerts and their staff snapped iconic shots of Tampa Bay for generations.

And they had a Cirkut camera. With one of them, what would be a normal nearly-square photo becomes an amazing panorama that's often five times as wide as it is tall. 

Here are a few great examples. Panorama almost doesn't describe it, does it?

Watch this modern demo of how a Cirkut camera works and you'll see that it rotates on a motorized base, panning from one direction to the other. The circular motion is how it got the name Cirkut camera.

Some of the most appealing, jaw-dropping, detailed, and important images of Tampa Bay's history were snapped by the Burgert Brothers with a Cirkut camera.

Many of the Burgerts' amazing photos are owned by the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System.

You can search through them here in the library catalog. Under "Type of Material," Choose "Burgert Brothers Cirkut (Panoramic) Photographs."

To browse the whole collection, once again choose Cirkut photos under "Type of Materials," then in the "Keywords:" box, enter "*" with no quotes.

And this photo may be the most stunning of them all. Click this link to see Downtown Tampa, captured on October 19, 1925.

The detail... wow.

This is six years before the University of Tampa started, so UT's landmark brick building with towering minarets topped with silver onion-shaped domes is still the Tampa Bay Hotel.

Moms and kids are shopping on Franklin Street, what was Tampa's "mall." A streetcar passes the sales office for a new development called Davis Islands.

The impressive old courthouse still appears on Hillsborough County's logo, but it was demolished in 1953.

And Tampa's brand new City Hall is shown in remarkable detail.

The building is complete with a clock tower that's today still working -- and three guys who are not working. They're seen in the photo taking a smoke break, captured by a Cirkut camera and frozen in time forever.

Why do they call it that? Now you know.

You can see 22 of those big, beautiful Cirkut photos up close for the next six weeks.

They're in an exhibit called "The Big Picture" at the Tampa Bay History Center, which is right next to the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

They'll be on display at the history center through July 15. Click here for more details

Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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