28 May 2019

Stereoscopy, how it all started

Category: Stereoscopy   Tags: Stereo view / Verdun
Historic Landscapes - Stereoscopy,  how it all started -

This month I looked for the first time through the lenses of my new Zeiss Ikon 628/8 stereoscope. I viewed an image of the Battle of Verdun and the visual experience and 3D effect made a big impression on me. A new passion was born.

The story goes back to 2009 when I visited the battlefield at Verdun for the first time. It was the start of a photo project that would eventually lead to a triptych in black & white about the First World War in France.

In 2018 I found on eBay a number of vintage stereo glass plates with images of the battle. I didn't know much about stereoscopy and I was mainly interested in scanning the images. I started collecting them and as my collection grew I became increasingly fascinated by these stereo views. Who were the photographers? Who produced them? How many are there?

Things changed when I found the website The Great War in 3D. This website of the American collectors Bob Boyd and Doug Jordan was a welcome source. I learned something about the producers and collections of French stereo views. I'm not sure if the website is still maintained, but these guys did a very good job and inspired me.

Now I'm collecting 60x130mm and 145x107mm glass stereo views of the First World War. I prefer the 60x130mm views, as they give a better viewing experience and show more details. I'm also interested in early 20th century French stereoscopy in general. This resulted in my first acquisition of a French stereoscope.

60x130mm glass stereo view produced by La Stéréoscopie Universelle (LSU)
60x130mm glass stereo view produced by La Stéréoscopie Universelle (LSU)