1960s Stereo-Camera Slides Part 1

1960s Stereo-Camera Slides Part 1

These 1960s stereoviews are from a box of about 30 slides which someone didn’t know what to do with (when you’re a stereoscopy nut with quite a niche interest these things have a habit of finding their way to you!).

They’re amateur and show someone’s travels around the UK as well their home life. Unfortunately, as is the case with many stereoviews, I don’t know who the photographer was.

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Wales 1960

Very few of them have titles hand-written on the card but they have written the year occasionally, showing they are from 1960-1965.

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These are slide-film (colour-reversal) transparencies from a 35mm camera. Their half-frame format suggests they could be from one of the most popular 35mm stereo-cameras at the time, a Stereo Realist. Other stereo-cameras in the UK at the time, such as an Iloca Stereograms could also have been used; I’d like to travel back and ask the photographer to get some tips!

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Slide film is really prone to getting dirty, especially in the UK’s dusty and mouldy attics so I have spent a long time cleaning these. I’ll share a before below so you can compare (click on the image to make it slightly bigger in Flickr).

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I used Photoshop to digitally clean them and remove the mounts. I then used Stereo Photo Maker to align and make an easier online viewing format with the images closer together, so I hope they display OK.

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I really enjoyed seeing 1960s life through these, especially the little details. I’d never noticed before how much litter there was on the streets in the touristic areas of the UK at the time. I also like to see the fashion and some things I remember seeing in photographs and old TVs series which were typical of the era but are no longer used (see the charity collection boxes in the second post of these).

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I also like that the photographer didn’t just stick to one type of image, they tried architecture, still-life, portraits (well a dog!) and also in various lighting settings and they turned out quite well. I do not take the time to mount my slides which didn’t turn out so well though so I guess that’s why they all work.

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Some are a little under-exposed but I’ve purposely not adjusted any levels in Photoshop. I must say though that they look much more vivid in a hand-held slide viewer than on a screen. At the time these images could also have been projected, so far I’ve never seen a slide projected through an original projector but I’d really like to compare it to a modern digital projection.

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The image below is my favourite from the set because I find the colours beautiful and the photographer took the time to make the composition to include depth. It was indoors with artificial lighting, you can see a flash was used, so I’d like to know which filters they used to make the colours pop so vividly whilst looking quite natural. The Stereo Realist had filter sets available, which you can still find for sale.

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The photographer was also quite close to some of the subjects, which would usually make the images out of focus and the stereo too hyper for the fixed-separation lenses (I did edit them digitally to put them slightly more behind the stereo-window but I still wouldn’t project them on a large screen). So I’d also like to know if they used a special macro-lens adapter which were also available at the time (can you tell I’ve been playing with these cameras?!). I must admit though that I couldn’t resist aligning the dog portrait to bring his nose out of the window and back to life.

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I’ll share a second post of the rest of the images I’ve scanned, cleaned and aligned but I hope you enjoy the few I’ve posted so far. I can’t help but relish getting to to peek inside the world of a complete stranger, seeing life through their eyes and in stereoscopic 3-D, you’re completely immersed in the era.

I hope you enjoy these too, maybe you’ll even be inspired to make your own which is still possible today (post coming soon!).

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4 thoughts on “1960s Stereo-Camera Slides Part 1

  1. I wonder if the Wales 1960 view is of Conwy Castle? I have a 19th century view which has things in common though castellation tends to look pretty similar. I like the car in the snow slide and am curious as to where that medieval street scene might be.

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    1. It is indeed, they labelled another one with it. I also recognised it from some Francis Bedford stereoviews. I think the street is the Shambles in York but to my shame I have to admit that I’ve never been there so I’m not 100%.

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