This is a photo of a woman taking a photo with a stereographic camera, c 1910. I love this image. All the circles— buttons, lenses, eyes, fingernails perceptible of the hands in the gloves, the rim of the hat all echoing each other — make a captivating and engaging visual. Even the background seems to swirl about the woman in a circular fashion. The stereographic camera mimics the woman’s face which strangely and provocatively evokes Dziga Vertov’s experimental film, Man with a Camera (1929), which merges camera and photographer as one.
The image this young woman is presumably taking is one that takes two pictures at the same time (note the two lenses). The lenses are the same distance apart as our eyes and when the double image is viewed through a stereoscope, it makes the image look three dimensional. In a previous post I have shared how the New York Public Library has digitalized over 40,000 of their stereoscopic images, merging some into a kind of animated three-dimensionality, using what they call the stereogranimator. It’s worth visiting their site and exploring their collection. Below is a stereoscopic image of two women using a stereoscope c 1900.