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    Kodak's Time machine The stereo camera
    Senior Member 8string's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
    Pacific Northwest/Olympic Peninsula
    Recently, my father died. In his treasure trove of photo archives were a large collection of Kodak Stereoslides taken of me, and many of my family members from the early 1950s, through about 1960. The Kodak stereocamera was an updated version of the old 1800s' stereoviewer, or the viewer we all had of Disneyland and other places back as kids. However, this little camera allowed anyone to take stereo photos and view them with their viewer. Wikipedia has extensive info on the Kodak and the Stereo Realist, the originator of that era's stereo cameras.

    I fired up his Kodaslide Stereoviewer II and inserted a few of his slides of the family and ...whoa. It was truly astonishing. Seeing my family, and me, along with our homes, pets cars and other items of daily life, many of them I remember as vague memories, come to life in 3D was almost scary. The realism of using "high def" kodak slide film, coupled with stereo images, and them of personally significant people and places, was almost more than I could handle. I have been seriously into photography, having gotten a degree in it during the 1980s from a leading photo school in the midwest, and was a working pro until 1983. I have always continued my love of still and video. But this is another level. As much as we would like to believe that our high def world brings us into the picture, we are just pretending until we actually create 3D images in mass quantities for the everyday person. This simple camera from the 1950s, coupled to an equally simple viewer that anyone can use by just plugging it in and inserting a slide, held way more realism than I've ever experienced in photography. Why? to look at my grandmother and grandfather, in 3d in 1955, looking around at their house, and the way that things were placed on tables, their two tone Oldsmobile obviously brand new out in the driveway, their smiles, and very lifelike forms in great color detail, or to look at a scene in a living room, and be able to see across the street and into the next door neighbor's house, with true depth of field, is what makes this different. Color was superb.

    While you may not be able to see your own family, I highly recommend that any serious photographer find one of these viewers, and some slides, and see it for yourself. The $80 (in 1955 money), time machine. It's great that there are a few highly animated films out there in 3D. But this reminds me how far we have to go to really personalize it.

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    Senior Member
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    Oct 2005
    I don't mean to take away from your personal memories in any way, and I have my own 'relationship' with 3D photography as my father enjoyed a career that involved taking aerial photos for mapping purposes and we had access at home to viewing devices that let us look at the world from that 'unique' perspective -- to this day, he has an irrational love for 3D cinema that goes back to early viewing of 1952's 'Bwana Devil' in Polaroid's two projector 3D. Safe to say he has been disappointed with Hollywood's efforts for something like sixty years ...

    But to my point -- the 50s and 60s enjoyed a device that was eventually considered a kid's toy, though in the beginning a more serious endeavor -- the Viewmaster. Those cardboard discs of 3D transparencies were a fact of life for scenic views, and behind the scenes looks at Hollywood ...


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