Three-dimensionalizing the past

GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator - view more at http://stereo.nypl.org/gallery/index

Niagara, Whirlpool Rapids. 1865?-1880?

GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator - view more at http://stereo.nypl.org/gallery/index

Big tree, felled in Frezno Grove, (78 ft. circum.)1871 1868?-1872?

GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator - view more at http://stereo.nypl.org/gallery/index

Horse Shoe Fall and remains of Table Rock. 1869?-1880?

GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator - view more at http://stereo.nypl.org/gallery/index

Scenes in camp. 1st Brigade, Conn., Philadelphia. 1876 1865?-1907

GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator - view more at http://stereo.nypl.org/gallery/index

Ice Grotto, Niagara, N.Y. 1860?-1895?

GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator - view more at http://stereo.nypl.org/gallery/index

An Hour's search or Aunt Venue hunting for Florida fleas 1867?-1895?

GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator - view more at http://stereo.nypl.org/gallery/index

An Opium Den, Chinatown, San Francisco, Ca. 1868?-1900? 1898

OK, I have to admit it. I am totally fascinated with this early technology of stereoscope images from the 1850s to 1930s. I have a collection of many of these images, especially from World War I, as well as an old stereoscope to view them. Because these photos are taken with a camera with two lenses whose distance from each other is the distance between our eyes, when we view them through the stereoscope, they become three dimensional. I even have an image of my mother taken by my father from before I was born using a stereoscope camera. The experience of viewing these pictures is still quite intriguing as it must have been to the very first users.  There is something very haunting about the realistic three-dimensionality of these images. When viewed through the stereoscope, you feel as if you are viscerally there in the space and place, a kind of illicit time travel.

The New York Public Library has taken this old technology to the next technological phase by digitalizing their entire collection of stereoscopic images, over 40,000, and allowing users to digitally create the very same effect with a bit of animation as well. Anyone can have access to this Stereogranimator and can embed the images they create in blogs, websites, and other social media. It’s rather addictive, actually. Between papers I was grading last night, I found myself creating one of these images as a kind of palate cleanser.

In fact, you need to go to their site right now and three-dimensionalize some past. Then send me the links to your favorites.

GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator - view more at http://stereo.nypl.org/gallery/index

Interior of a Cottage. 1869?-1880?

GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator - view more at http://stereo.nypl.org/gallery/index

Dixon crossing Niagara below the Great Cantilever Bridge, U.S.A. 1895-1903

The link to the NYT’s article where I discovered the stereogranimator: 3-D It Yourself, Thanks to New Library Site.

This entry was posted in animation, photography and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Three-dimensionalizing the past

  1. Okay, I’ll go to the website, but watching these images made me a little queasy, I have to admit.

  2. Pingback: Woman taking a stereoscopic photograph | Nexus

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s