Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New (old) toys

Over the years I've accumulated a small collection of old postcards and ethnographic images from the various places that I've visited. These include a number of the stereo photographs made by the Keystone View Company. Called Stereographs, these were a pair of near identical images that were taken at a slightly different angle to each other. When sat side by side and viewed through a special viewer the images merged and gave a 3D effect. .

Mounted on stiff card with an image caption, these Stereocards were immensely popular and from about 1860 until the 1920's this was the way many people saw the world beyond their shores... Until movie newsreels and then television finally relegated them to the attics, trunks and junk shops.

When I was studying photography at college, I majored in Scientific & Industrial Photography and we spent some time learning the formulas to determine exactly how far apart the lens needed to be placed for two images to ensure a three dimensional scene when observed through the viewing glasses. Something about lens separation equaling the depth point factor multiplied by the far point factor multiplied by the lens factor... or something like that. Was kinda fun getting the results, but f***d if I can remember all the formulas and calculations to get to a successful result now. But, it was something that I always thought that I'd like to have a crack at again. 

Fast forward to 2011, fellow photographer 'Dan the man' Grant and I are planning a trip to Burma a little later this year. Doing some research and looking for some stuff on ebay I find this little beauty. 
 A 1950's era Kodak Stereo Camera!!! Uses 35mm film to produce a 24mm stereograph. Heavy bastard, made from bakelite and metal... and comes complete with it's own built in spirit level. Just downloaded the manual from the Orphan Camera Manual Library ... A bloody great resource that everybody should bookmark and support. If you've got an old or second hand camera and need the manual, it's the place to go. Now to load some film and give it a test run. May have to take it along on the trip and put my twist on some of those amazing old Keystone Stereocards. Stay tuned folks.