My photo project about the First World War started in Verdun in 2009. Nine years later I started collecting stereoviews of the war. This created a nice interaction between these two passions. I’m now searching for stereoviews with images of locations that I've photographed during my photo project, but I also started taking new photos of locations that I recognised from stereoviews.
The First World War was the first major conflict where photography played an important role. Germany recognised its potential and used photographs for propaganda from 1914. The images were used to influence the public opinion in neutral countries. France realized that it could not stay behind and decided to set up its own photography unit to oppose German propaganda.
Most French stereoviews with images of the First World War contain a short description which is printed on the slide. 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.