André Ruiter Stereoscopy

Stereoviews for dear little Robert

October 5, 2019
Stereoviews for dear little Robert - B&W photographer and collector of antique photographica
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.

Paris-Stéréo published glass and paper stereoviews during and after the war. It's the only thing we know about this company. According to their catalog, it offered paper stereoviews in numbered series of 12. My box contains the complete series III with random images that are not related to a specific campaign or battle.

The box and stereoviews are in moderate condition. The images show good contrast but are a bit faded and it seems they were stored in a humid environment for a long time.

Vues de la Guerre, an original Paris-Stéréo box
Original Paris-Stéréo box (author's collection)

In a previous blogpost I wrote that images that were published during the war were censored. The images in my box are technically and artistically of good quality but they don't show very interesting scenes. Most of the images are staged and don’t represent the real horrors of the war. It shows that they were authorised by the French Ministry of War before publication.

The image in this blogpost stands out and is my favorite. It's a very nice image, well-composed and it doesn't seem staged. It shows a platoon during a break and the soldier in the foreground is simply touching. The soldiers wear the traditional kepie, which suggests that the photo is made before September 1915. In that month the steel helmet was introduced by the French army, which offered better protection to the soldiers.

La Grande Halte by Paris-Stéréo
2671 - La Grande Halte by Paris-Stéréo

When purchasing a collection of stereoviews I’m always curious about who the first owner was. I try to imagine the person who looked for the first time at the images through the lenses of a stereoscope. Most of the time you'll never know, but this box contains a nice handwritten text on the back:

A mon cher petit Robert.
Tante Rose

(To my dear little Robert, aunt Rose)

Handwritten text