Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Oliver Holmes Stereograph Invention

This is a stereograph card with two identical images which can be viewed through a magnifying viewer to make the objects appear 3 dimensional.

In Oliver Holmes' article "The stereoscope and the stereograph" in 1859 he describes the mechanics of the stereograph and the amazing advance it is to be able to take a two dimensional picture and make it three dimensional. The very idea that our eyes can see three dimensional is itself intriguing. Holmes' explains that the very detail that a picture can capture an artist would leave out.

"Form is henceforth divorced from matter. In fact, matter as a visible object
is of no great use any longer, except as the mould on which form is shaped.

"We are looking into stereoscopes as pretty toys, and wondering over a photograph as a charming novelty; but before another generation has passed away, it will be recognized that a new epoch in the history of human progess."

What Holmes is saying in 1859 is that in the years to come the photograph will be mass poduced instead of a novelty for the wealthy. Holmes talks of the nest European war being photographed and how a bulb of light flashing would help increase exposure time for a picture. His thoughts and ideas are ahead of his time and this article expresses his belief that the photograph will bring great things in the future.


At 10:07 PM, Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post.

Holmes's essay is one of the great commentaries on early photography.

He sees photography as changing our relationship with the world. Splitting form from content. Our relationship with reality will be changed, writes Holmes.

Is he correct? Did the mechanical reproduction of images transform our perception of reality?


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