It may appear odd but stereo photographers actually helped introduce art and culture into Victorian middle class parlours. Stereo photography is all about volume and depth while painting deals mostly with representing our three-dimensional world onto a flat wall, wooden board, canvas or piece of paper. Yes, as photo historian Denis Pellerin will illustrate with several examples, photographers re-staged for the stereoscope some of the most famous paintings of the time which could then be bought not only at a much cheaper price than the original but also than the various engraved versions of it. Stereoscopy therefore played an important but totally overlooked part in disseminating visual culture in the households of the bourgeoisie. Painters and photographers also got their inspiration from the same subjects. Choosing from a selection of paintings at the Courtauld Gallery, Pellerin will examine the similiarities and differences in their stereoscopic counterparts and will show, in glorious 3-D, what made the Victorians tick.
Denis Pellerin is a self-taught photo-historian who has been researching and learning about stereo photography for over 40 years and has written multiple articles and books on the subject. During his thirtieth year as a secondary school teacher, Denis had the good fortune to meet Dr. Brian May before being hired by the latter as the curator of his extensive photographic collection, a position he has occupied for six years. Denis and Dr. May have co-written three books (Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell, 2013, The Poor Man’s Picture Gallery, 2014, Crinoline: Fashion’s Most Magnificent Disaster, 2016) and are currently working on a couple more publications while deeply involved in the various activities of The London Stereoscopic Company, re-created by Dr. May in 2008. Since September 2015 Pellerin has been the director of the said company whose original motto, “No home without a stereoscope”, he has definitely made his own.