The Art of Stereography

Rediscovering Vintage Three-Dimensional Images

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About the Book

Three-dimensional stereoviews were wildly popular in the mid–19th century. Yet public infatuation fueled highbrow scorn, and even when they fell from favor, critics retained their disdain. Thus a dazzling body of photographic work has unjustly been buried.
This book explores how compelling images were made by carefully combining subject matter, composition, lighting, tonality, blocking and depth. It draws upon the fine arts, the mass media, humanities, history, and even geology. Throughout, overlooked photographers are celebrated, such as the one who found extraordinary visual parallels within nature, anticipating Cézanne and Seurat—or the one who refused to play favorites during a bitter war and found humanity on both sides—or the one who took a favorite American glen and found menace all about.
Stereographers were actually more like film directors or television producers than large format photographers: the best ones fused artistry with commercial appeal.

About the Author(s)

Douglas Heil is a radio-television-film professor at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, where he teaches media aesthetics, scriptwriting and filmmaking.

Bibliographic Details

Douglas Heil
Format: softcover (9.5 x 7)
Pages: 356
Bibliographic Info: 276 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6460-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2724-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments vii

Preface 1

I. Photography’s Bastard Offspring 5

II. A Gallery of the Alluring and the Emblematic 33

III. Charles Bierstadt: Romantic, Realist … Modernist? 97

IV. Individualism in Watkins and Havana Glens 183

V. Stereographic Humanism 247

Chapter Notes 317

Bibliography 331

Index 339

Book Reviews & Awards

“this study provides information about an important, still relatively unknown arena of photographic practice…recommended”—Choice. “a wonderful contribution to the serious appreciation of stereography, and deserves recognition”—Stereo World.