Category Archives: DataViz as Photography

DatViz as Photography: Happy 125th Birthday, Eiffel Tower!


As those of you who follow my blog know, I had the opportunity to see the Eiffel Tower on two different occasions last year. I even had the good fortune to have a wonderful dinner in Tour 58 on the first level of the Tower.

Today is the 125th birthday of the Eiffel Tower. I wanted to share with you a photo essay from Time Magazine that was put together by Josh Sanburn and Lauren Fleishman for Time.

I have also included their wonderful narrative below.

Happy 125 birthday.  May her beauty continue to grace the skies of Paris forever.

Best Regards,


Happy 125 Eiffel Tower: TIME’s Tribute to the Grande Dame of Paris

Source: Josh Sanburn, Photo Essay, Time Magazine, March 31, 2014,

Lauren Fleishman is an award-winning photographer based in New York City and Paris. See more of her work here and or on LightBox here

Josh Sanburn is a writer/reporter for TIME in New York. Follow him on Twitter @joshsanburn.

It’s hard to imagine anything that’s been photographed more than the Eiffel Tower. Since it opened in 1889, the elegant structure has long been an iconic symbol of Paris, a destination for those visiting the city, a site impossible to ignore. For many, the sleek tower—effortlessly gliding skyward, spectacular at night—is a physical manifestation of love and romance. But it’s not as if the structure was always without its critics.

Back when designs were unveiled in the 1880s, a group of artists strongly protested its construction, calling it useless and monstrous, an indignation of French taste. Sacrebleu! Its engineer, Gustave Eiffel, likened it to the pyramids and predicted it would eventually become beloved by Parisians and visitors alike. He was right. The Eiffel Tower started its ascent in 1887, and when it was completed two years later, it became the tallest man-made structure ever built at 1,063 feet, surpassing the Washington Monument and holding onto the title of tallest in the world for four decades. An estimated 30,000 people climbed the stairs up into the tower in the first few weeks it opened before elevators had even been installed. It was an instant hit.

Eiffel Tower

Throughout the 20th century, the tower became more than a tower, and more than a symbol of Paris. During World War I, France placed a radio transmitter inside it to jam German radio communications. In World War II, it became a Nazi prize when Germany scaled the structure and planted a swastika on top. Over the years, people have bungee jumped from it. Pilots have attempted to fly underneath it (with disastrous results). By the end of the century, it took on another dimension for Paris’s Millennium Celebration when 20,000 light bulbs were installed on the tower, adding a spectacular modern touch that allows it to illuminate each night.

On March 31, the Eiffel Tower will turn 125 years old—and its never been more popular. More than 250 million people have visited the structure since it opened, attracting 6 million people each year and making it the most-visited paid monument in the world.

To commemorate its birthday and exclusive to TIME, Paris-based photographer Lauren Fleishman has been trying to capture the tower in a way it’s never been shot before. But it wasn’t easy.

“The first thing that came to mind was, Ok, this is one of the most photographed monuments in the world,” Fleishman says. “Everybody comes here and they want to take a good picture of it. So, figuring out how to do it in a way that was unique to me took a lot of effort.”

Fleishman says she wanted to show what the tower means to people, both Parisians and tourists alike. For some, the Eiffel Tower means vacation. For others, the tower says employment. For some, it’s a first kiss.

Fleishman spent hours just looking at the monument, milling around it and underneath it, studying how people interact with it. Her drive to capture it from unique angles produced one shot of the tower framed through the window of a private residence. In another, she photographed two women embracing at top of the monument.

“I think that was a really beautiful moment,” she says. “I looked for moments like that, where people were experiencing the tower, looking out at Paris. For some people, it’s their dream to come here and see it. So that’s how I tried to approach it.”

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DataViz as Photography: Black & White Photos of New York City in 1910


I will be working in New York City this week. I came across these beautiful photos of 1910 New York City. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

I will be posting New York City-related data visualization stories all of this week. I hope you check back each day to see the beauty I see in this great city.

Best Regards,


Atlantic Avenue Subway Brooklyn
Bronx Zoo Entrance
Brooklyn Navy Yard Dry Dock #4
City Investing Building
Columbus Circle

11th Avenue
Flatbush Avenue Brooklyn
Grand Central Entrances
Grand Central Subway Ramp
Lower Manhattan from Coentes Slip
Metropolitain Life Building
Metropolitan Life Building at Night
Old Penn Station Concourse
Old Penn Station Interior
Old Penn Station
Polo Grounds former home of the Yankees & Giants
Queensborough Bridge Completed
Queensborough Bridge Entrance
Queensborough Bridge Walkway
Snow Plow during Blizzard
Third Avenue L on Chatham Square
Times Building
Underneath the Queensborough Bridge

Source: vintage everyday, B&W Photos of New York City in 1910, February 5, 2014,

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DataViz as Photography: Construction of the Eiffel Tower

NOTE: Greetings from Paris. I continue my Paris week of data visualization blogging with these great images of the construction of the Eiffel Tower. I got an idea in my head today and I am going to create a MicroStrategy dashboard about the Eiffel Tower. Perhaps MicroStrategy will have another dashboard contest at MicroStrategy World in January that would motivate me to complete it quickly.

I had a fight this morning with the shower hose and the bathroom lost. It became a swimming pool.

Best regards and I hope you stay tuned this week for other great data visualization stories relating to Paris and France.


Construction of the Eiffel Tower

Work on the foundations started in January 1887. The tower is comprised of 18, 038 pieces of wrought iron and 2 and half million rivets. No drilling or shaping was done on site. If any part did not fit, it was sent back to the factory for alteration.

The critical stage of joining the four legs at the first level was complete by March 1888. Although the metalwork had been prepared with the utmost precision, provision had been made to carry out small adjustments in order to precisely align the legs: hydraulic jacks were fitted to the shoes at the base of each leg, each capable of exerting a force of 800 tonnes, and in addition the legs had been intentionally constructed at a slightly steeper angle than necessary, being supported by sandboxes on the scaffold.

No more than three hundred workers were employed on site, and because Eiffel took safety precautions, including the use of movable stagings, guard-rails and screens. Only one man died during construction.

The main structural work was completed at the end of March 1889. Eiffel had a permit for the tower to stand for 20 years. It was to be dismantled in 1909. The City had planned to tear it down (part of the original contest rules for designing a tower was that it could be easily demolished) but as the tower proved valuable for communication purposes, it was allowed to remain after the expiry of the permit.

In the opening weeks of the First World War, the powerful radio transmitters using the tower were used to jam German communications, seriously hindering their advance on Paris and contributing to the Allied victory at the First Battle of the Marne.


America’s Independence: Photos of 50 American Flags From Our Nation’s History

Happy American Independence Day!

I cannot think of a better way to honor those who have defended our great country than will a historical collection of American flags from our nation’s history.

The national flag of the United States of America, often simply referred to as the American flag, consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton (referred to specifically as the “union”) bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternating with rows of five stars. The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 states of the United States of America and the 13 stripes represent the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain and became the first states in the Union.

Nicknames for the flag include the “Stars and Stripes”, “Old Glory”, and “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Most of these flags are actually for sale by Jeff R. Bridgman, the nation’s largest seller of antique American Stars & Stripes, but antique flags are his foremost business.

Enjoy viewing these great visualizations of our country’s history. Enjoy your Fourth of July holiday and don’t forget to thank a veteran you know for our freedom. For those in harm’s way, God Bless You and stay safe.

Best regards,


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DataViz as Photography: 14 Stunning Photographs That Bridge Past and Present

Kerényi Zoltán has turned his camera into a time machine. The Hungarian photographer and architect uses vintage photos to create a bridge between the Budapest of the past and the Budapest of the present. [SOURCE]

In the series “Ablak a Múltra” (translating to “Window to the Past”), Zoltán overlays black and white images from the website Fortepan onto his own images with a modern backdrop.

The subjects of the images vary from kids and parents playing in the street to transportation, managing to seamlessly fill present-day stadiums with the ghosts of history and restructure broken-down buildings to their glory of the past.

Zoltán says he has been working on the project for more than two years, but the images only recently went viral after being featured on Reddit. He tells Mashable that the idea was triggered by simply being fascinated with old pictures of his hometown.

Check out the beautiful pictures above and see more on his Facebook page.

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DataViz as Photography: Puffin Census on the Farne Islands

Every since I was a little boy, I have had a fascination and love affair with the puffin. I have little puffin figures and photos all around my house.

Leanne Burden Seidel [SOURCE] noted that every five years, National Trust rangers carry out a puffin census on the Farne Islands, off the northeast coast of England.  The beautiful birds return to their breeding grounds on the islands, which offer excellent sources of food, few ground predators, and good protection for nesting. This count carries particular significance because the last survey in 2008, recording 36,500 pairs, indicated that numbers had fallen by a third from the 2003 census. There is also fear that the extreme weather in the past year could affect the numbers. In March, thousands of birds washed up dead due to severely cold winds, and last summer, many of the birds were flooded out of their homes. Rangers are now faced with the daunting task of counting every burrow-nesting bird, which involves reaching down to each of the underground nests to see if it is occupied. The results will be ready in July.


Puffins return to their summer breeding grounds on the Farne Islands in Northeast England on May 16, 2013. They are often called “sea parrots” due to their colorful beaks. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

National Trust rangers Will Scott, David Kinchin Smith, Samantha Morgan and Laura Shearer put their hands into puffin burrows to check for nests during a census on the Farne Islands on May 16, 2013. A census is carried out every five years.(Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
The Farne Islands offer good protection for the birds to nest, providing excellent sources of food, and few ground predators, despite the fear that the extreme winter could impact breeding numbers.(Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Puffins return to their summer breeding grounds on the Farne Islands on May 16, 2013. According to the National Trust, the last census in 2008 recorded a large drop in the numbers at 36,500 pairs of puffins. In 2003, 55,674 pairs were recorded. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Members of the public visit the Farne Islands where puffins are returning to their summer breeding grounds on May 16, 2013.(Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
National Trust rangers Will Scott and Samantha Morgan laugh as they put their hands into puffin burrows during the census. Puffins nest underground, so this is the only way to tell if it is occupied. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Will Scott, a National Trust ranger holds a puffin during the census. According to National Geographic, the birds weigh on average 17.5 ounces and are 10 inches tall.(Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Rangers are worried that the extreme conditions this past winter could affect the numbers of puffins. The Farne Islands are a huge seabird colony, with 23 different species. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Members of the public take pictures as they visit the Farne Islands where puffins are returning to their summer breeding grounds on May 16, 2013. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Puffins can carry several fish in their beak to bring back to their nest at one time.(Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Puffins often live 20 years or more. Thousands of dead birds were washed up on Northeast coast last March due to extreme weather. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
National Trust rangers Will Scott, David Kinchin Smith, Samantha Morgan and Laura Shearer put their hands into puffin burrows, which are about 2 to 3 feet long, during the census. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Puffins lay one egg per year with usually the same mate and they return to the same burrow each year. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Members of the public sit in front of the Chapel of St Cuthbert on Farne Islands where puffins are returning to their summer breeding grounds on May 16, 2013.(Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Puffins are good fliers. They can flap their wings up to 400 times per minute and can reach speeds of 55 miles (88 kilometers) an hour. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

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