Stereoscopy or stereo imaging is a technique to create the illusion of depth when viewing images. Today we call it 3D, but the technique is more than 175 years old.
My latest acquisition is a wooden 6x9 field camera from the 1890s. It's a stereo camera with two lenses from Balbreck ainé.
Most French stereoviews with images of the First World War contain a short description of the image. In best case, it describes the place, subject and a year. However, most descriptions are brief and sometimes even incorrect. This makes it difficult to find out more about the story behind the image.
I'm collecting glass stereoviews only but recently I couldn’t resist purchasing a box of paper views with images from the First World War. It’s a collection of 12 images in 8,5x17 format, produced by Paris-Stéréo.
I found a catalog from 1918 by Photo-Plait from Paris. This photography store sold stereoviews of the First World War. To my surprise, the numbers in the catalogue correspond to the numbers on the slides of La Stéréoscopie Universelle. It establishes the link between producer and seller.
I've extended my collection with an interesting set of 50 glass 45x107 stereoviews and a simple stereoscope. The stereoviews are published by the Service des Ventes de l'U.N.C. (SDV).
The Glyphoscope was a stereo camera using glass plates, developed by the famous manufacturer Jules Richard from Paris. It was a compact, simple and affordable camera that could also serve as a stereoscope.
When searching for stereoviews to extend my collection, I always pay special attention to images of sites I’ve visited while working on my photo projects. I was delighted to found a slide of Fort de Troyon. It brings back good memories of my visit to this fort in 2015.
Last month I've acquired my second cabinet stereoscope. It's a beautiful late 19th century deluxe rotary viewer, built by the French manufacturer Mattey. This multiple-view device supports paper and glass stereo views in both 45x107 and 6x30 formats.
The majority of French stereoviews from the First World War are not rare. They were produced in large numbers and are offered on many online auction sites. Much less is known about the photographers, manufacturers and sellers. That's why simple documents can sometimes reveal valuable information.