"In Depth" - a collection of stereoscopic images
Gallery by the Lake
Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center
Lake Charles, LA
November 25th, 2022 through January 28th, 2023
I’ve been fascinated with 3-D imagery since I was a kid looking at cartoon characters and landscapes through a GAF View Master, so creating this set of pictures – some whimsical and some more critical – has been a special project for me. In the realm of photography as art, stereoscopy is usually viewed as a gimmick or novelty, but what I love about stereo images is their undeniable inclusion of depth as a major compositional element. More importantly, the making and viewing of stereo images should always remind us how much more of life one can see and understand by literally stepping to one side to gain an additional perspective.
For this exhibition, pairs of images captured side-by-side and displayed next to one another come to life when viewed and merged through stereoscopic lenses. Others are color-coded printed images (anaglyphs), whose depth is revealed only when viewed through a pair of red/cyan glasses. The subject matter in this exhibition spans several subjects including natural and man-altered landscapes, architecture, culture, and more. While our natural human binocular vision is a result of our eyes being spaced a few inches apart, my cameras are spaced differently (inches, feet, or even yards apart) depending upon the distances of the objects in a scene. By this approach, called hyperstereography, it is possible to reveal depth and spatial relationships outside our normal visual experience, and you will see this in a number of these pictures.
Stereoscopic photography dates to 1832, just a few years after the beginning of photography itself. The process involves the making of two similar photographs (referred to as a stereo pair) from slightly different vantage points next to one another, then viewing the two images, one with each eye, and letting the brain interpret the images just as it does the images from our own eyes during normal vision. Different methods have been used for this viewing of the stereo pair images. In early days, the so-called “stereoscope” or “Stereopticon” featured two lenses viewing a card with the two images mounted side by side. In the 20th Century, the GAF Viewmaster and similar products featured multiple small images on a paper disc that were viewed by a dedicated viewer. And these days, Virtual Reality headsets are just a variation on this theme, with each eye viewing a slightly different digital image on a small screen inside the headset.
Dan Plummer, November 2022