In this fantastic image from 1905, a mighty brave gentleman with a camera perches on a steel girder at East 19th Street and Fifth Avenue. The photograph looks north toward the Flatiron Building, while he is shooting west. Between the girder and the photog's leg, you can see Lord & Taylor department store. It would be three decades before the view included the Flatiron Building three blocks north.
It's likely he is using a simple box camera, which was surprisingly light, since it comprised little more than a cardboard or plastic box with lens in one end and film in the other—no aperture or shutter speed—meaning that ample daylight was required to successfully shoot a landscape photo.
The picture to the right shows Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge, wife of the U.S. President and First Lady, using a box camera. (Primary photo: nycvintageimages)