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Company History

Located only blocks from the nation’s Capital, Central Photo Company has been serving the Washington, D.C. area and the student tour industry for nearly 100 years, setting the standards for quality and service in panoramic photography.

The origins of Central Photo Company date back to 1919 as a commercial photography studio. The business began operations using a unique panoramic camera, then produced by the Eastman Kodak Company, called the “Cirkut” camera. This new camera proved to be the perfect format for photographing large groups of people, and could take in a complete 360 degree view if necessary. The company soon began shooting presidential receptions, banquets, and many other panoramic jobs of the time, while also maintaining several portrait studios in the downtown area. During World War II the portrait studios did a successful business with the locally stationed servicemen, but by the end of the war the portrait work had started to decline and Central Photo began concentrating more on its panoramic business.

By the 1950s, with the baby boom in full swing, and Washington, D.C. emerging as a major tourist destination, Central Photo Company began taking more and more student tour groups, most of which were asking to have their picture taken with their congressmen or senator at the Capitol building. As a consequence, the U.S. Capitol building became the standard photographic backdrop for tour groups visiting Washington, and Central Photo Company the industry leader in panoramic student group photography.

Historic panoramic photography