28 May 2019

Stereoscopy, how it all started

Category: Stereoscopy   Tags: LSU / Stereoviews / Verdun
Stereoscopy,  how it all started - André Ruiter Photography

This month I looked for the first time through the lenses of my vintage 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 my photo project Verdun 1916 that would eventually lead to a triptych in black & white about the First World War in France. The Verdun project was expanded with the projects Waldlager and Vosges 1915.

In 2018 I found on eBay a number of vintage stereo glass slides 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 stereoviews. 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 manufacturers 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.

All this resulted in a great interest in French stereoscopy from 1870 to 1930. I'm collecting 45x107 and 6x13 glass stereoviews from the First World War. I prefer the 6x13 slides, as they give a better viewing experience and show more details. My current collection also contains stereoscopes, catalogs, manuals and other accessories. My intention is to blog frequently about my journey through the world of stereoscopy and share items from my collection.

6x13 glass stereo view produced by La Stéréoscopie Universelle (LSU)
6x13 glass stereo view produced by La Stéréoscopie Universelle (LSU)

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