My introduction to stereoscopy was purely coincidental. As a photographer I am specialized in the theme Historic Landscapes, a combination of landscape photography and history. In 2009 I visited the First World War battlefield of Verdun in France. I was impressed by what I saw and started a photo project that I would eventually work on for ten years.

My connection to this project prompted me to search on eBay for an original trench map of the battlefield. I eventually found this map, but not before I came across a collection of obscure glass plates with stereo photos of the battle. I knew little about stereo photography, but these slides fascinated me. I went looking for more images of Verdun and started collecting them, with no apparent purpose.

8642 – Entree du fort de Souville
6x13cm glass stereoview by La Stéréoscopie Universelle
My first stereoview: 8642 – Entree du fort de Souville
6x13cm glass stereoview by La Stéréoscopie Universelle

In the meantime, I tried to find out more about the background. Who were the photographers and publishers? How many are there? I found that the resources were scarce. Things changed when I found the website The Great War in 3D with a large collection of stereoviews from the Jordan/Ference collection and information about the publishers. In the same period I bought my first stereoscope, a Zeiss Ikon handheld stereoscope. The first time I looked at a stereoview through the lenses was a wonderful experience and a new passion was born.

My first stereoscope: a Zeiss Ikon model 628/8 handheld stereoscope

I started collecting glass stereoviews from the First World War, but I also started looking for stereoscopes and stereo cameras. I immersed myself in the history and wanted to know everything about the makers. The fact that the sources were limited made it even more challenging and my collection now also contains catalogs and advertisements that often contain valuable information about the history.

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