Nostalgia Sunday – The Holy Land in Stereo
Back before Avatar, kiddies, there was stereoscopy. The technology today seems fairly simple — two separate images printed side-by-side and peered at through the lens of a stereoscope viewer — but the invention was groundbreaking and it was the virtual reality of its day.
The difficult part was providing the public with new and different pictures of faraway places that they could only dream of visiting. Intrepid photographers ventured forth to gather images from such places and, as was to be expected, the Holy Land proved a popular subject.
These images are gleaned from the World of Stereoviews, an informative website and reasonably priced online shop featuring over 14,000 stereoscopic images dating from the 1850s onwards by well known photographers of the day such as the 1850s views by Francis Frith, B.L. Singley’s Fine Art Photographers’ Publishing Co. and Keystone Views (1890s up until the mid 20th century), the Underwood Company, and M.E. Wright’s Excelsior Publishing (1900s).
The site’s owners, Jenny and Ray Norman note that Wright “was a quirky publisher who either stole or bought images from others… He is known to have produced Middle East views by dressing up his family and taking them in Lancashire – saved the trouble of the journey.” However, these fellows seem to be the real thing!