Meet the Virtual Americana Team

Founder & Principal Photographer: Carlton SooHoo, PhD (he/him)

Carlton SooHoo, founder of Panospin 360 – a virtual tour company, has been capturing 360-degree photographs around the world since 2005.  His passion is bringing places and stories to life through this incredible form of photography. Carton has always loved history, and this Virtual Americana project is the culmination of his passion for photography, travel, American history and education.  

As a Massachusetts native, some of the most well-known historical sites are right in Carlton’s backyard.  Each Patriot’s Day on the Lexington Common, there is a reenactment of Paul Revere’s Ride and The Battle of Lexington. The Common, where the reenactment takes place is the actual site where the opening shots of the Battles of Lexington and Concord were fired on April 19, 1775, starting the American Revolutionary War. 

But Carlton knew that in the case of many other historical American events, the locations they occurred at were not maintained in their integrity like the battleground in Lexington has been. The question was, what did other infamous locations look like now?  So Carlton set out to find the answer.  

Carlton traveled across the country to the locations of major battles and important events. What he discovered was that in many cases the historic locations, despite having a marker or commemorative plaque, were “hidden” in urban neighborhoods, on dusty roadsides, and in overgrown forests (which on more than one occasion Carlton wished he had a machete to clear a path).  Carlton’s travels also yielded interesting observations and subsequent discussions with people, many of whom believe what was vs. what was not commemorated speaks to historical bias.

What Carlton quickly found to be obvious, was that American victories were far more likely to be commemorated than losses, no matter how relevant to history. “I observed that when George Washington’s Continental Army won a battle, no matter how small, there was significant commemoration. Where the Continental Army lost battles, even a nearly tide turning one at Camden, SC, there was only a roadside marker.” 

Many of the historic locations were grandly commemorated.  For example, in his travels, Carlton came upon museums, including the King’s Mountain Museum, which had a living recreation of a historical mountain forest inside. In Philadelphia, Carlton visited Independence Hall.  “To stand in the actual room where the Declaration of Independence was signed was truly awe-inspiring.

What Carlton found to be most inspiring was standing on the bank of the Delaware River, at the narrow point where General George Washington and his 2400 men crossed on that infamous Christmas Eve night in 1776. “To know what they went through and that it took them over 11 hours, and yet I had just crossed the Delaware River in my rental car in about 45 seconds.’” 

Through 360-degree photography, Carlton was able to capture all that he saw and experienced during his travels.  With Virtual Americana, now everyone can “be there” and experience history where it actually happened.  

Web Designer, Creative Ninja, & Photographer: Amanda Bowen (she/her)

Amanda came to Virtual Americana as a Photographer and Web Designer after being recruited by Virtual Americana’s founder, Carlton Soohoo. Carlton and Amanda marry logic and creativity with their Virtual Tours.

Amanda has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communications with self-taught photography skills. Amanda spent time in healthcare, the automotive industry, news media, commercial photography and is a member of the US Press Association.

In her downtime, Amanda loves to use her voice to advocate for healthcare reform, and political awareness. She rides in the American Diabetes Association’s annual ‘Tour de Cure’, though 2020 and 2021 was and will be virtual.

Amanda resides in Goffstown, New Hampshire in the 1939 cape that her Pepere built for generations to fill. She can be seen on adventures with her spawn, Emma and Aidan. Amanda loves cycling long distances, animals, hiking, skydiving, solving puzzles, a challenge.

Amanda joins Virtual Americana with vision and a drive to educate.