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The Art of Stereography: Rediscovering Vintage Three-Dimensional Images book

by R Heil last modified Feb 09, 2018 01:34 AM

Art of Stereography book cover


First Place winner, Fine Art/ Photography category, Royal Dragonfly Book Awards
"This is a wonderful contribution to the serious appreciation of stereography and deserves recognition."  – John Dennis, Stereo World
"Great book:  it has opened a lot of new trains of thought regarding stereo.  Really not like anything that has come before it."  – Ray Norman, The World of Stereoviews


3-D stereoviews hit Europe and American like a tsunami in the mid-19th century.  Unfortunately, public infatuation fueled highbrow scorn, and even when the format fell from favor, critics kept their distance.  Thus a dazzling body of work has been unjustly buried.  This book unearths the stereograph format and explores what makes the best images so visually compelling.  It examines the subjects, composition, lighting, tonality, blocking, and depth — and in doing so, it draws upon art, film, television, literature, history, geology, classical studies, and influential 19th century aesthetic theory.  It also celebrates overlooked photographers who infused their work with a stylistic or philosophical identity.  One stereographer, for instance, refused to play favorites during a bitter war and found humanity on both sides.  Another took a favorite American glen and uncovered menace at every turn.  Yet another found strange parallels between trees, rocks, waterfalls, and tourists, anticipating Modernist pioneers Cézanne and Seurat.  The book notes that stereographers should not be measured against large format photographers with a high art slant; actually, they were closer in spirit to contemporary film directors or TV producers:  in all three mediums, the best practitioners fused artistry with commercial considerations.  This makes stereography relevant to a wide range of contemporary image-makers.

Strohmeyer pyramids

The book is divided into five chapters.  From each chapter, at least two stereoviews have been chosen for the website, along with their accompanying monographs.  In addition, 13 “bonus” images and 10 monographs that do not appear in the book have been added to further elaborate on book insights.  To restore three-dimensionality, each stereoview has been animated via the GIF format.


The following are the links to images and monographs appearing on this website:


Chapter I: Photography's Bastard Offspring

Whipple farmhouse


Chapter II: A Gallery of the Alluring & the Emblematic

Haynes Natural Bridge



 Chapter III: Charles Bierstadt: Romantic, Realist . . . Modernist?

Bierstadt Terrapin Tower


Chapter IV: Individualism Within Watkins & Havana Glens 

U&U Watkins Glen Gorge



Chapter V: Stereographic Humanism 

Strohmeyer cotton


How to Acquire This Book

The Art of Stereography is published by McFarland & Company, which welcomes direct orders and queries.  They are open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm Eastern Standard Time.  Their phone number is (800) 253-2187; their FAX number is (336) 246-4403; their address is McFarland, Box 611, Jefferson, NC 28640; their website is  


External Links Relevant to this Site 

McFarland’s webpage on The Art of Stereography

McFarland’s page on Art & Architecture books that includes The Art of Stereography

The Great War in Stereoviews (by Robert S. Boyd)

Jeffrey Kraus Antique Photographics: Stereoviews, CDVs, Daguerreotypes, Etc.

Jeremy Rowe Vintage Photography

The Keystone-Mast Collection – UCR/California Museum

The London Stereoscopic Company (by Brian May & Elena Vidal)

National Stereoscopic Association

Robert N. Dennis Collection of Stereoscopic Views (from the New York Public Library Digital Collections)

Stereoscopic Effects (by Thomas B. Greenslade, Jr.)

Stereoview Heaven (by Jan Lagendijk)

The Stereoview in the U.S.  A guide . . .  (by William Jaeger) Stereoviews and Fine 19th & 20th Century Antique Photographs (by David Spahr) (by Rob Oechsle)

World of Stereoviews (by Ray & Jenny Norman)

The Yellowstone Stereoview (by Paul Rubinstein)

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by R Heil last modified Feb 09, 2018 01:34 AM