to View the Pictures
By careful optimization
Looking-Glass has uniquely developed a means of allowing you to see
the best possible 3D effect of early stereograph examples straight
from your computer screen, without the need of a stereo viewer. If
you can see the effect of modern computer generated stereograms then
you should easily achive results with these pictures. The following
instructions are based on a 19" flat screen monitor at a resolution
of 1024 X 768. (However some people have now reported that they can
even see the effect on 15" 1600x1200 resolution laptops) But
you may need to adjust your viewing distance if you are using a smaller
monitor and / or different resolutions
Look at the picture
below, preferably in a dim lit room with your eyes about 30-40cm from
the screen (this distance would be average for normal sighted people).
Make sure your eyes are absolutely level with the picture, it won't
work if you are looking down or up at the image. Now relax your eyes
and imagine you are looking at something a few metres "behind"
the image (screen). The two photo images will slowly look like three.
Focus on the third "phantom" image you see in the centre
and slowly this will come into focus... and into 3D. If it still seems
unfocused, either pull back from the screen or lean futher in and
let your eyes re-adjust. Once you've got it... it gets easier each
Enjoy the gallery,
but please don't strain your eyes and read our notes on health and
girl at the microscope
Brief History of the Stereograph
In 1838 photography
was still in its infancy, a magical marvel of the age, which quickly
captured the world's imagination like nothing before. But even such
"magic" was soon to be enhanced beyond a flat image on paper
into a 3 dimensional wonderland by Professor Wheatstone's "Stereoscope".
It was also during this period that Daguerre had created a photographic
process in Paris, which helped to popularize the "stereograph"
and by 1860 a table-top stereo viewer was an essential part of the
household itinerary - like television is today.
Stereo pictures where taken using a special camera with two lenses
mounted side by side. The end result would recreate the depth of imagery
or three dimensional vision (which we achieve naturally by having
two eyes). On taking the picture the image or scene would be exposed
on two frames of film inside the camera - the view through the left
lense exposed on one frame... and the view from the right lense exposed
on the other. When developed and mounted onto card the stereograph
would be ready to view. This would be by means of a "stereoscope"
- either an enclosed desktop version or handheld device. The scope
has a pair of lenses at one end and a slot to insert the stereograph
at the other. By looking through the lenses, the two photographic
images are merged together creating the three dimensional view.
Stereograph viewing remained popular up until the early 1920's, particularly
in America, where today most remaining historical stereo photo collections
now reside, usually in museums and private collections. Daguerreotype
stereographs, as they are known, present the finest quality prints
of incredible detail.
Popular mass-market stereographs were of the Holmes
format, which also offered affordable ways to view using patented
handheld devices such as the Holmes
viewer and the Perfectoscope.
During that golden age of stereography dual lens cameras where common,
and so besides the thousands of published photos available, family
life in 3d became a novel form of archiving.... much like the handycam
video camera is today. The amazing, and perhaps melancholic effect
of those early three dimensional images of life 150 years ago presents
a powerful and unique perspective for the historian.
3d photography continued into the1950's and was then redefined by
the introduction of Viewmaster, a popular slide disc viewer. This
is still in production today but by the late '60's stereo pictures
in this form became more of a novelty for younger viewers, as Viewmaster
produced 3d picture sets of popular children's films and TV programs.
Today there are still pockets of enthusiasts around the world who
continue to photograph and process the original Holmes
type stereo pictures. Cameras, viewers and 3d processing are still
available, albeit an expensive pursuit.
Oliver Wendell Holmes' own words from 1859 on the Stereograph and
note on health and safety when viewing
Do not strain your eyes.
Don't spend more than a couple of minutes trying to see the 3d effect.
Be aware of radiation and electromagnetism emmited from CRT monitors.
TFT monitors may not pose the same high levels of health risk as CRT's.
Read the Looking-Glass
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