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Wednesday February 22, 2017
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Michigan in 3-D

 

continued

But back to the fake. While the card is an authentic antique, it seems this stereograph's Victorian photographer tried to create the illusion of depth through a camera trick that, while clever, wasn't entirely successful. This artifice of artifice just doesn't "pop" like its neighbors do. Its flatness was something I noticed upon first glance, yet didn't think much of, since dimension and immensity varies with each stereograph. I was willing to overlook it for not being the Grand Canyon of stereographs until the exhibit's curator, Matt Adair, singled it out and helpfully explained that its insipidness can be attributed to the "twin seahorses." They're actually identical bits of debris that appear in nearly the same spot on both images of the original stereoscopic card. Their presence suggests that the photographer mimicked a stereo camera's two separate lenses by using a camera with a single (dirty) lens to take two consecutive pictures of the subject. (I'll let you locate the picture yourself.)

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