Antique stereoviews are your ticket to time travel, and can tell great stories from the past! Looking at a vintage card through your stereoscope, you can step right into the scene and imagine how things must have been for people in a particular era. The popularity of this medium in the 19th and early 20th century now allows us to view history via this immersive medium. This section is devoted to the magic of antique stereo-photographs. Learn all about the do’s and don’ts of collecting antique stereoviews, and building a well curated collection of your own here. We will also periodically share stereoviews that are part of private collections.
My stereophotography and stereoview collection are two sides of the same coin for me and have a common origin story. Travel back with me to May 2014 — London. A chance encounter on a canal boat. A question asked. An answer given. My life… transformed.
Back in 1838 the concept of binocular vision had not yet been explored or written about anywhere. It was a scientist in his mid 30s who not only described the phenomenon later called stereopsis but also constructed a device to view two flat images in 3D which he called a stereoscope. This is especially remarkable as photography was not invented until one year later. Charles Wheatstone’s observations were based only on drawings. Most of these drawings are based on horizontal mirroring which is why we call them mirror stereos today. Read Wheatstone’s original source here.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts because we are going to embark on a trip to the Underworld! This is a series of “Modern Diableries” inspired by the original French Tissue stereo cards.
While most of the time the original Diableries were intended to be scary, my approach and interpretation on such Devilments is mostly cheerful and entertaining.
What kind of entertainment would you have as a Soviet kid growing up in the 1980s? A couple of dolls, clothes; metallic constructor sets, the vinyl recordings of children’s stories; some cassettes with popular Russian songs, and a bunch of filmstrips. These things were in almost everyone’s possession – at least, that’s how I remember my friend’s toys. However, I had something very special – a set of stereo cards, along with a simple stereoscope that looked like binoculars.
It’s probably safe to assume that most people were introduced to 3D images via View-Master. Introduced at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, the handheld 3D viewer was a very popular format that sold literally billions of products from the 1940s right on through the 2000s. Here you’ll find a brief history of View-Master, some images from my collection and key content categories that may be of interest to those looking to start or grow their collections.
What is meant by true crime? It’s a nonfiction genre having to do with actual crimes, usually murder. It’s popular now, but it was popular in the 19th century too‒just think of the penny press and the National Police Gazette. As the joke says, “Crime may not pay, but it sells!”. I was curious to see if it made its way into stereo cards, too. In what follows, I’ve tried to provide a thumbnail sketch of each crime. Accounts from the time often vary, so I’ve tried to present a composite set of the facts which I think are the most likely.
The viewing experience of stereo photos sometimes is just as if you could step right into the scene. But the flatness of distant landscapes is an undeniable drawback for the stereoscopic effect.
Read about the reasons and methods to enhance the depth in such stereo photos. Look at historic glass slides as well as at modern drone stereo photos.
Michael Burr was one of the most prolific photographers of staged genre stereoviews in the Victorian era. Like most photographers Burr had his favourite models who make regular appearances in his tableaux. One of them, and perhaps the most relevant to readers of this article, appeared as the wife of a stereograph enthusiast who, while her husband is occupied in scrutinising the latest offerings from the travelling stereo salesman, takes the opportunity to flirt with the top-hatted purveyor of 3D delights.
What to do in 2020, these difficult times for passionate collectors? Read about Thomas Asch’s newest acquisition, get some historical background information and look at the different kinds of stereoscopic Tissues.
Stereoscopic negatives are, by nature of their creation, trickier dragons to conquer than are those made by traditional two-dimensional cameras. They are vicious chimeras, products of distinct photographic and stereographic processes, and difficult to tame. Read here how to do it.