Echoes from the Vault

Instead of focusing on a specific medium, this week’s Inspiring Illustrations post on photography is devoted to a well-known presentation format, the stereograph.  More recently identified as 3D photography (particularly fashionable in contemporary cinema), this format’s history is well known, but one worth sharing with new readers. Most importantly to us, the University of St Andrews is directly linked to the invention of the ‘lenticular stereograph’.

David Brewster (1781-1868), Principal of United Colleges of St. Andrews, commissioned Dr John Adamson (above, first Scottish photographer to execute the Calotype) to make his ideas about stereoscopic photography a reality. In doing so, a 19th century phenomenon was born which became a fashionable parlour amusement for those who could afford it. Dr Alison Morrison-Low of the National Museums of Scotland writes in our recent Treasures of St Andrews University Library publication: “it’s popularity led to the mass commercialisation and dissemination of imagery…

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