28 May 2019

How my passion for Stereoscopy started

Category: History   Tags: Verdun / WWI / Zeiss
How my passion for Stereoscopy started - Black & White Photography and Stereoscopy Blog

A new passion was born after I looked for the first time through the lenses of my 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.

Zeiss Ikon 628/8 stereoscope for 6x13cm stereoviews
Zeiss Ikon 628/8 stereoscope for 6x13cm stereoviews

The story goes back to 2009 when I visited the WWI 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 a number of vintage stereo glass slides with images of the battle on eBay. I didn't know much about stereoscopy and I was mainly interested in scanning the images. I started collecting the images and as my collection grew I became increasingly fascinated by these stereoviews. Who were the photographers? Who produced them? How many are there? Large amounts of stereoviews are circulating on online auction sites, but learning something about the history of these slides seemed challenging.

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 a lot about the manufacturers and collections of French stereoviews. These guys did a very good job and inspired me. Another excellent source is the website Brooklyn Stereography of Ian Ference.

All this resulted in a great interest in stereo photography from 1850 to 1930. I'm a collector of 45x107 and 6x13 glass stereoviews. I prefer the 6x13 slides, as they give a better viewing experience and show more details. My collection also contains stereoscopes, stereo cameras, catalogs, manuals, vintage advertisements and other accessories. My intention is to post frequently about my journey through the world of stereoscopy and share items from my collection.

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