My fascination and curiosity for 3D has been re-kindled after viewing the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary in digital time series, stereoscopically projected on a silver screen. The Arkaroola resort became a picturesque model of miniature people, cars, buildings, and quivering trees. Suddenly the world became a childs playground again and I wanted to explore more. The Creature From the Black Lagoon the last memorable journey, and then random trips round the globe through the lens of the family Viewmaster. In the seventies I remember exploring Niagra falls and getting drenched by the rain, people apparently doing this for decades:
The New York Sterescopic Society unravels the history of the Viewmaster phenomena:
…which was developed in 1938 by two men, William Gruber and Harold Graves, who bumped into each other and brainstormed the idea at the Oregon Caves National Monument on the south coast before returning to develop the concept in Portland. Although we think of the View-Master as a child’s toy, the 3D Center points out that the familiar circular reels possibly constitute the largest collection of 3D photographs ever compiled, and in 1942, the US military commissioned 5.6 million custom training reels on subjects such as ship identification.
Until the late 1970s, when the company switched to reels made primarily of photographs and paintings, the View-Master stories were told with handmade sculptures, which were then photographed in 3D.
These constitute the “golden age” of the View-Master, and were principally sculpted by Portland resident Joe Liptak. The highlight of the 3D Center’s show is an assembly of Liptak’s original sculptures from his own private collection: Fred Flintstone, Huckleberry Hound, dinosaurs, and assorted creatures are all on view, with their corresponding, eye-popping View-Masters. Aside from being a sweet nostalgic treat, The Magic of View-Master is an engaging refresher course in stereoscopic vision, an informative history lesson about a ubiquitous childhood toy, and yet another thing you can casually brag on Portland for when your friends come in from Des Moines. Portland Mercury
Tim Baier: explores the Flinders Ranges in 3D