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  • Michael Krakovskiy 11:07 am on September 13, 2004 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 3D, 3D film, 3D imaging, 3D television, awesome online store, , , , Holography, , , Stereoscopy, Time And Again   

    When Photos Were Stereo, But Not Music 

    Si Morley from “Time And Again” had a hobby – looking at antique stereophotographs. I researched the topic a bit and came up with with a bunch of interesting information and a new hobby.

    We all know that Victorians, for the lack of television had to go to great lengths to entertain themselves. There was rampant piano playing, singing and weird parlour games galore. But they did have a futuristic technology  that sadly is rather uncommon these days. Stereoscopy.

    You’d think that by now we’d have 3d television, at least in a crappy Star Wars hologram kind, but alas. 3d movie theaters and movies are rare, 3d lcd monitors get announced, but seem to be vaporvare.  But Victorian bourgeois, they had whole libraries of 3d photographs and special viewers in almost every family. 

    You can read up on the history of stereophotography here, but to me the most important was this:  the most popular viewer type was the Holmes-Bates type that looked like this:

    (I’ll add a picture later when mine will arrive from eBay, but for now you can find a bunch of images here)

    and there are virtually a kajillion of pictures for it on eBay ranging in price from a dollar to hundreds eBay is amazing – there’s even a dollhouse size stereoscope for sale.

    I also found an awesome online store that sells a huge variety of stereoscopy related items, including a cheap Lorgnette viewer that should work well with Holmes type stereophotographs.  I bought a few to give to my friends so that I’ll be able to send them stereophotos that I’ll be taking. Fun, Victorian style.

  • Michael Krakovskiy 3:17 pm on September 12, 2004 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Altavista, , Dakota Building, dissatisfied illustrator, , Frederick Law Olmsted, , Invasion of The Body Snatchers, , , , , , , Si Morley, Time And Again, , time travel story, tiny little startup   

    Again With Time 

    Setting Wright’s book aside, I went on to read Jack Finney’s “Time And Again” which was up  next. I’ve read it in Russian translation many years ago, but understood very little of what makes it so very special a book. My mom seemed to appreciate it better back then, because it remains the only science fiction book that she ever liked. This time, in English and after a quarter of my lifetime spent in New York, the book truly resonated.

    “Time And Again” is a time travel story, with a novel and decidedly low tech approach.  The idea is that the past really exists, but we do not slip back into it because our minds are tethered to the present by a web of knowledge that is increasingly time specific: computer is a machine, not a person; Microsoft is a giant corporation,not a tiny little startup; Altavista is forgotten, Google is the best search engine; webpages are out, blogs are in; I just opened Semagic to write this post, I just typed this sentence.  We are constantly reminded of when we are: our computers hum, there are airplanes flying overhead, if we look out of the window there are cars parked outside.  We call them cars, not automobiles most of the time.

    To travel back you need to find a places that exists both in the present and in the past unchanged, potential portals. If have certain talents, go to such a place, dress in the style of the past, eat what people used to eat then, become saturated with the lingering atmosphere of the past. And then, trough self hypnosis, make yourself temporarily forget about modern things – and back you go, into the past.

    In the book, a government secret project taps a talented, but loosely and dissatisfied illustrator Si Morley who successfully uses an empty apartment in the Dakota Building near Central Park to travel back to the Eighties. The Eighteen Eighties.

    Just like Jack Finney is better known for “Invasion of The Body Snatchers“, the Dakota is better known as the building where John Lennon lived and inf front of which he was killed. It’s a monster of a building with 14 ft ceilings, very thick walls  and giant apartments. From the top floors all you can see is Central Park, a place that is kept true to Frederick Law Olmsted’s master plan as much as possible. In short – a time portal.

    What I especially love about the book is the fact that it is very well illustrated with photographs and drawings which are presented by the protagonist in line with the narration. Why in this age of computer augmented publishing  so few other books show photographs next to the text that describes them is beyond me.

    Here’s Si Morley’s photo of the Dakota side to side with my version:

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