Stereo cards from modern times

written for the stereosite by Mary Friargiu, Italy

I present you a series of mod­ern stereo cards, inspired by the Vic­to­ri­an way of depict­ing real­i­ty: Stereo­scop­ic pho­tog­ra­phy. I’ve been inspired and fas­ci­nat­ed by the atmos­phere of old stereo­scop­ic cards, which were, in their time, the most real­is­tic way to immor­tal­ize and then relive the mem­o­ries dri­ven by the sight of a par­tic­u­lar scene. Stereo­scop­ic pho­tos were also con­sid­ered an effec­tive trav­el tick­et or board­ing pass to places around the World dur­ing bygone times when trav­el was not with­in everyone’s reach.  Such stereo ‘post­cards’ allowed peo­ple to switch off from real­i­ty and bring their minds to oth­er places. Stere­og­ra­phy made trav­el more com­fort­able and afford­able for every­one – and as Oliv­er Wen­dell Holmes implied, it also “allowed the view­er to own the scene, to place it in a view­er and stand gaz­ing over it”. Anoth­er quote that would per­fect­ly reflect the Vic­to­ri­an hey­day of stere­oscopy comes from William Darrah: 

A steady stream of stereo views depict­ing the clas­sic antiq­ui­ties of Rome, Naples, Athens, Egypt and the Holy Land, togeth­er with those of cathe­drals, pub­lic build­ings and palaces of the tourists cen­tres Europe pro­vid­ed memen­tos of the jour­ney and vic­ar­i­ous adven­ture for those who had to remain at home.”

A panoram­ic hyper-stereo view shot from the hill where the medieval Cas­tle stands.

By the lat­ter half of the 19th cen­tu­ry, many towns had their own res­i­dent stereo­scop­ic pho­tog­ra­ph­er, which means there were plen­ty of local sub­jects avail­able for peo­ple with stere­o­scopes, as well as trav­el cards from far-off lands. I’ve been inspired to cre­ate my own vir­tu­al trav­el cards after encoun­ter­ing many stere­ograms pub­lished by the Stereo-Trav­el Co. (on Google and var­i­ous stere­oscopy blogs); and the Scenes in our Vil­lage series by Thomas Richard Williams – a col­lec­tion of stereo cards in which Williams depicts life in a small Eng­lish vil­lage at the begin­ning of 1850s. For my series of stereo cards I wan­dered the paths of such stere­o­cards, with the aim to take you on a vir­tu­al walk­ing trip around the streets and old foot­paths of my town. I’ve also tried to recre­ate the unique atmos­phere that a vin­tage card would give to the view­er, from the fram­ing style to the warm sepia tones as in Williams’ works. The result is a col­lec­tion of gath­er­ing places, land­marks, land­scapes and secret cor­ners of the Old Town. Here is anoth­er example:

You can take a seat right in front of the city walls, in this tiny square.

I took these stereo pho­tographs with my Smart­phone, using the 3DSteroidPro app, which you can eas­i­ly down­load to your mobile phone. I use Pho­to­shop Light­room to enhance colours, light and shad­ows. I align and crop my stereo pairs with Stereo Pho­to Mak­er, which has var­i­ous built-in tools that make it easy to avoid vio­lat­ing the stereo win­dow. Once aligned and cropped — in a semi-square for­mat — you can find the ‘Print stereo card’ tool (File/Print stereo card). You can choose between dif­fer­ent types: Cus­tom stereo card, Clas­sic stereo card, Holmes stereo card, 6x13 For­mat, and final­ly the Cab­i­net card. The char­ac­ter­is­tic sepia tone is also done with Stereo Pho­to Mak­er (Adjust/Colour adjustment/Grey scale/Sepia colour [L/R]). You can also add a title, descrip­tion, and even the author­ship. You can cre­ate your own mod­ern stereo card in 10 minutes!

SPM offers dif­fer­ent card types…
…as well as label­ing and a sepia filter.

If you want to see the full series of mod­ern Stere­o­cards from Igle­sias, vis­it the cor­re­spond­ing gallery Vil­la Eccle­si­ae.

Mary Friargiu (Iglesias, Sardinia, Italy)

I devel­oped my pas­sion for pho­tog­ra­phy dur­ing the past cou­ple of years. My inter­est in stere­oscopy, came from the re-estab­lish­ment of The Lon­don Stereo­scop­ic Com­pa­ny and Dr. Bri­an May’s encour­age­ment to take stereo pho­tographs. I’ve been intrigued by his stere­o­graphs, so when I dis­cov­ered that I could make my own stereo pic­tures, I was keen to learn every­thing about stere­oscopy. To me, it’s the best way to con­nect with every­thing that sur­rounds me. I use my Smart­phone cam­era (Sam­sung Galaxy A41) to take stere­os; my favourite sub­jects are land­scapes and flow­ers.

Insta­gram-pro­file: maryf.3d