Lecture: Famous and Anonymous Victorians in the Stereoscope
11 October 2019, 19:00
Ondaatje Wing Theatre
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Digital interpretation of the original stereoscopic card
© The National Portrait Gallery, London
Original stereoscopic card
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
by Robert Howlett, and George Downes
The stereoscopic craze that swept over France and Britain from the mid-1850s to the 1862 Exhibition led to the production of millions of binocular photographs that are an invaluable help for anyone who wishes to study and understand the Victorian era. Among those images, so precious for the historian of the period, are hundreds of portraits of famous and totally anonymous Victorians. Projected on a large screen and visible in 3-D through special glasses, they bring to life in a very vivid way those ghosts of the past and let us step, for a while, straight into the very heart of photographs that were all taken when Queen Victoria was ruling over Britain. Even the “carte-o-mania” which succeeded this stereoscopic frenzy yields, at times, some surprising full length and full 3-D portraits in a way that will be explained by photo historian Denis Pellerin with chosen examples from Brian May’s and the NPG’s collections.
Denis Pellerin is a self-taught photo-historian with an MA in Art history from the Sorbonne and a very strong passion for nineteenth century stereo photography. Denis has been researching and learning about the history of stereo photography for over 30 years and has written multiple articles and books on the subject, both in French and in English. During his thirtieth year as a secondary school teacher, Denis had the good fortune to meet and work with Dr. Brian May before being hired by the latter as the curator of his extensive photographic collection (over 100,000 stereo photographs). His mission is to make the collection alive. It is safe to state that it is currently the most researched, most advertised, most lectured on, and most written about collection of stereoscopic images in Europe, if not in the world.
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